Writer and director Sofia Coppola puts a new spin on the life and times of one of Europe's most infamous monarchs in this lavish historical drama which fuses a contemporary sensibility with painstaking recreations of the look of the 18th century. Born to Austrian nobility, Marie Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst) is only 14 years old when she's pledged to ...
Writer and director Sofia Coppola puts a new spin on the life and times of one of Europe's most infamous monarchs in this lavish historical drama which fuses a contemporary sensibility with painstaking recreations of the look of the 18th century. Born to Austrian nobility, Marie Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst) is only 14 years old when she's pledged to marry Louis XVI (Jason Schwartzman), the 15-year-old king of France, in an alliance that has everything to do with politics and nothing to do with love. Sent to France and literally stripped of her former life, Marie weds Louis, but to the consternation of the royal court, he seems either unwilling or unable to consummate the marriage while their advisors clamor for an heir to the throne. Young and more than a bit out of step with the new life that's been thrust upon her, Marie gives herself over to the pleasures of life in Versailles, knowing and caring little of the political intrigue that surrounds her. In time, Marie's trusted older brother, Joseph (Danny Huston), is brought in to coach Louis on the finer points of marital relations, and before long the couple is finally blessed with a child. However, as Marie tends to her children in the gilded cage of her palace and enjoys an affair with a Swedish nobleman, political power plays are throwing France into chaos, and the growing ranks of the poor rebel against the royals and their life of privilege. Also starring Rip Torn, Judy Davis, Steve Coogan, and Asia Argento, Marie Antoinette was given a controversial reception when it premiered at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. Mark Deming, Rovi
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I can understand why some movie critics gave poor or average reviews to this movie when it came out--it's indulgent, true...but that spirit matches the subject matter so well: I think it's genius!
Of course the costumes and the settings are amazingly perfect--heck, you could watch this movie on mute and enjoy it immensely. The music, score, and casting is also perfect--Jason Schwartzman as the King is a revelation--he's stuffy, awkward, and totally hilarious.
The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because I don't love Dunst here. She's great towards the end, when things start to unravel--she wears the weight and sadness well. But earlier in the film, she's a bit goofy, self-conscious, and even overacting at times.
I love how the movie just gives you a feel of her life. Sometimes these historical movies try to represent an age with a kind of "antiquing" to it--the way we see it now. But this story is presented in full color, the way THEY lived it! I think it would be appropriate to even show clips of this movie to history classes, just to give a feel for the age--especially the scene of Marie's complicated morning routine with all the ladies of the court...