Aug 17, 2010

Marie Antoinette (2006) - royally ridiculous

 directed by Sofia Coppola / starring Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman
I first saw this a few years back with pretty high expectations - didn't like it much. Then saw it again pre-Paris with slightly lower expectations - liked it more. I was able to concentrate on the main thing: the visual part of the film, which is indeed quite amazing.

Marie Antoinette is a tale of the iconic queen of France, loosely based on her historical counterpart. The film's Marie Antoinette, just like the real one, was married to Ludvig XVI as a young girl and thus became the queen, living fabulously luxurious life in the palace of Versailles, and later - through scandals and frustration of the people of France - became a victim of the revolution.

 I've always kind of liked Kirsten Dunst. She hasn't really ever done anything breathtaking, but stars in little sweet movies I often like. And she fits well in the role of the young queen, who's naive and perplexed in front of the challenge of growing up in the utterly confusing environment that Versailles must have been. Jason Schwartzman plays her poor sissy little husband, and he's good. I was also glad to spot Inception's Tom Hardy in a small role!

The film, obviously, tells about Marie Antoinette's life in Versailles - how she got settled in, how she got used to all the ridiculous rutines of the palace (em, the dressing and undressing ceremonies, anyone? Come on...), how her poor sissy little husband was very poor, sissy and little, and how they finally managed to fulfill the expectations and produce an heir for the crown.
The most enjoyable parts, for me, were the scenes where they just had ridiculous amounts of fun and made the most of the relaxed life they were lucky enough to be able to lead. The parties, the cakes, the shoes and outrageous hairdos. I especially liked the scene where they sat by the enourmous lake in the garden, watching the sunrise. (I like it even more now that I've actually seen the lake!)

 Like I said before, for me the most important thing in the film is what you see. The clothes, the hair, the jewelry, the shoes, the palace, the ridiculous luxury. Thus all these million pictures! I think they make my point better than I can myself.

Marie Antoinette is kind of a queer little film, and it can difficult to decide how you should look at it. On one hand, it looks like an accurate historical potrayal of true events - the costumes and the setting (was is actually shot in Versailles...? Either that or the set designers really rock) seem really plausible. On the other hand, then... It a roughly modernized version of the era - in their ball they dance to groovy rock music. This is probably why some people might find Coppola's interpretation offending. And probably why the film was booed at Cannes.

The film obviously shouldn't be looked at as an documentary of any kind - just a story merely INSPIRED by actual people and events. (For me, the biggest inaccuracy was that everyone was so skinny even though they spent their days eating cake. Oh well, they took walks in that HUGE garden, that might explain something.) But hey, there is at least one correct thing and it's the potrait of the queen and her children. I spotted it in the palace in Versailles and it was just like in the film. (And didn't I feel wise, knowing who the people in the painting were! Ha. My moment to shine. Except that the only person I could've shown off with my wisdom was my friend, who also recognized the people in the painting. So much for shining! Anyway.) Here's a picture. (Isn't kind of silly to photograph paintings? Well, guilty as charged.)

For the quote there's really only one option. I used it before, but it just summarizes the film better than anything else could. Plus one more picture to back up the quote's statement.

"This is ridiculous."
"This, Madame, is Versailles."



Aimee said...

so true and yet...I love it!

Eeva said...

Yeah... It's kind of a charming film in its own way. And sure looks gorgeous!