Marie Antoinette

"Very Good"

Marie Antoinette Review


The word "soft" summarizes the world of Sofia Coppola, perfectly. Each film she has made has the tenderness, vagueness and, ultimately, the sensibility of a fluffy, white cloud in the middle of a blue sky. With two near-perfect films on her resume, 1999's The Virgin Suicides and 2003's majestic Lost in Translation, Sofia Coppola's third film should have been an easy play. Instead, we are given the beguiling Marie Antoinette.

There's the famous Marie-Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst): the one who so insipidly said "Let them eat cake" when learning of the famine and starvation of the French people and the one who had her head cut off and displayed, with ample delight, to the same people she told to eat said cake. Then there's the private Marie Antoinette: the one who was forced into a French marriage (she was Austrian originally) by her brutish mother and who would eventually lose a newborn baby right as her kingdom was crashing down. Coppola seems very confused as to whom she wants to show in Marie Antoinette.

The film begins as Marie is being married off to Louis XVI (Jason Schwartzman), who will take over for his grandfather, King Louis XV (a particularly boisterous Rip Torn) when he passes on. In the film's first third (roughly till Louis XV dies), Coppola paints the world of Marie Antoinette like the original Paris Hilton: the little dog constantly in her arms, the frivolous clothes and the constant pouting over the traditions of French royalty. There is a dreaminess to the first half of the film that sets off a mesmerizing sense of dazzle. It doesn't even seem weird that '80s post-punk heroes Gang of Four, Siouxsie & the Banshees, and The Cure share the same area as classical composers like Rameau.

Far from a social commentary, Marie Antoinette seems to cast off any sense of history or class war in favor of the daze of womanhood. The scenes of Antoinette frolicking around with her daughter with sheep in a garden and the shot of her giggling uncontrollably after finally having sex with her husband seem much more important than scenes where the poverty-stricken people of France rally outside the royal palace. This is all for the better, since all of Coppola's previous films exist in a certain dreamscape while dealing with the emotional plights of their heroines.

Trouble rears its ugly head in the film's last quarter when, seemingly out of nowhere, Coppola starts searching for Antoinette's soul on the physical plane. The brilliant cinematographer Lance Acord (Lost in Translation, Adaptation) keeps the imagery wondrously whimsical, but with the death of her child and the French people forcing Antoinette and Louis to leave their palace brashly drag the film into a fake sense of reality. Coppola's second-guessing of her treatment turns the end of this otherwise breathtaking pastel wonderland into a shockingly uninvolved dramatic stab at insincere integrity, and it becomes almost impossible to give into the featherbed that Coppola lays out for us. Call me a softy.

Reviewed as part of the 2006 New York Film Festival.

And asparagus. Let them eat that too.



Marie Antoinette

Facts and Figures

In Theaters: Friday 20th October 2006

Box Office USA: $16.0M

Box Office Worldwide: $60.5M

Budget: $40M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures

Production compaines: Columbia Pictures Corporation, Pricel, Tohokushinsha Film, American Zoetrope, Commission du Film France, Commission du Film Île-de-France

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 55%
Fresh: 98 Rotten: 80

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Marie Antoinette, as Louis XVI, as Comtesse de Noailles, as Louis XV, as Comtesse du Barry, as Duchesse de Polignac, Mary Nighy as Princesse Lamballe, as Léonard, as Ambassador Mercy, Jean-Christophe Bouvet as Duc de Choiseul, Florrie Betts as Marie Therese - 6 years, as Vergennes, as Maria Theresa, as Duchesse de Char, Alain Doutey as Chief Valet, as Aunt Sophie, as Aunt Victoire, as Emperor Joseph II

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.