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The Affair of the Necklace (2001)

In pre-Revolutionary France, a young aristocratic woman left penniless by the political unrest in the country, must avenge her family's fall from grace by scheming to steal a priceless necklace.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Minister of Titles
Monsieur Bassenge
Frank McCusker ...
Abel Duphot
Simon Shackleton ...
Hermione Gulliford ...
Geoffrey Hutchings ...
President D'Aligre


Paris, 1786: a woman in court. The Crown murdered her father for his views about the poor, now Jeanne wants her home and good name back. She believes all can be set right if she can talk to the Queen, whose House Minister rebuffs her. With the help of a courtside gigolo, she learns to use what others desire to get what she wants. She needs a patron: with forged letters, she convinces Cardinal de Rohan she is the Queen's confidante and can help him regain royal favor. Jeanne conspires to have the Cardinal purchase a fabulous diamond necklace for the Queen. He delivers it to Jeanne for Marie Antoinette. If the scheme breaks down, what then? Might this affair spark revolution? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

queen | woman | necklace | france | desire | See All (160) »


To avenge the murder of her family, one woman's passion for justice will bring down an empire..... See more »


Drama | History | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

7 December 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Farlig intrig  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$125,523 (USA) (30 November 2001)


$430,313 (USA) (11 January 2002)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The mansion shown belonging to the Cardinal Louis de Rohan is actually the Chateau de Vaux-Le-Vicomte, built between 1658 and 1661 for Nicolas Fouquet, Marquis de Belle Île, Viscount of Melun and Vaux, the superintendent of finances to Louis XIV. To ensure there was enough room for the Chateau and the planned gardens, three villages were bought and demolished. Fouquet was unfortunetly not able to enjoy the property for very long. In August of 1661, a few days after a ball, to which Lous XIV was invited, to celebrate the completion of the Chateau, the King had Fouquet arrested, charged with misappropriation of public funds, to pay for the lavish estate's construction. Fouquet was imprisoned for life, and his wife exiled. The King bought or confiscated many of the furnishings and works of art on the property, and hired the team responsible for its construction to design and build the Palace of Versailles. The property was returned to Madame Fouquet in the mid 1670s. The Chateau was never the property of the Cardinal, nor did he ever live there. In 1705, shortly after the death of her husband and son, Madame Fouquet sold the Chateau to the Marshall Villars, one of Louis XIV's most trusted Generals. He bought it sight unseen. His son would sell the property to the Duke de Praslin in 1764, and his descendants kept the property for over one hundred years. It was eventually bought, in a sad state of disrepairs, and with the gardens overgrown, and uncared for, by the Sommier family, who restored the gardens and the Chateau. The Sommier still own Vaux-le-Vicomte, and the Chateau is now open to the public. The Chateau has cropped up frequently in movies and television shows, most memorably as the home "rebuilt stone by stone in California" by the villain Drax in the James Bond film Moonraker (1979). See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: Napoleon wrote that military blunders and domestic catastrophes fanned the flames of the French Revolution. But the cu-de-gras was a curious palace scandal involving woman of nobility denied, a member of the royal family, and the most magnificent string of jewels in all of Europe. This notorious intrigue came to be known as, L'affaire du Collier.
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The Four Seasons, Summer - 1st Movement
Written by Antonio Vivaldi
Courtesy of FirstCom Music, Inc.
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User Reviews

Lies! All lies!!
27 June 2002 | by (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

The Affair of the Necklace is a film that has some qualities but only adds more layers of falsehoods to a story that is already fraught with them. This film is trying to make Jeanne de la Motte into an unjustly destitute noble heroine along the lines of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles. Nothing could be further from the truth. She was a thief and a whore. Here are a few documented facts:

Jeanne's father was not dispossessed by the King's men; he pretty well did that to himself as a village drunkard and professional poacher. He married a servant girl who later became a prostitute. He was not a political agitator. Jeanne was actually generously pensioned by the King for being a true descendant of Henry II. She was introduced to Rohan by one of her many benefactors. She became his lover on her second visit. Cardinal Rohan, by the way, was not 'cardinal of all France', but Grand Almoner (or 'court cardinal'), a privilege he lost after the trial. Jeanne did not meet Rétaux as a court gigolo during one of her many fake fainting spells in court (three in all); he was a companion of arms and debauchery of her husband, who did not have a jealous bone in his body. At the conclusion of the trial, Cagliostro was also exiled from France by Parliament. After escaping from France, Jeanne did not retire to semi-gentility, lecturing English society matrons on her edifying adventures. She wrote pornographic memoirs in many volumes regaling the populace with further aspersions on the Queen's character, while her husband, back in France, made a very decent living getting paid by the Rohan family not to write his memoirs. She did in England what she had always done in France: she whored. She fell out the second-floor window of a London house of ill repute, to her death.

Other things bother me: The necklace itself is a rather slim, cut-rate and unattractive version of the documented original. Marie Antoinette was not tall, spindly, stoop-shouldered and bustless, no matter how effective Joely Richardson's performance is otherwise. Most of the source music heard in this film was never heard within several country miles of the French court, namely Vivaldi, Haendel, Mozart and various English baroque composers (Saints preserve us!). The ditty 'Plaisir d'amour' (misspelled in the end titles) was never part of a stage presentation. The film's main titles and theatrical trailer are disgraced by a nondescript and rather hair-raising piece sung by Alanis Morrissette, which sounds to all the world like an African mass sung in Gaelic (What were they thinking?!).

In the film's defence, it was shot in Versailles, it does show amazing detail, occasional accuracy, spurts of brilliance and a vigorous rhythm. Furthermore, it never stoops to the detailed depictions of bodily functions and gory acts of sadistic violence that have become the hallmark of recent euro-trash pseudo-historical epics (La Reine Margot, Elizabeth, Farinelli, Le Roi danse, Vatel, Ridicule, to name a few). It is infinitely more historically accurate than, say, Gladiator, but that's not saying much.

My favourite quote about this film comes from Rick Groen in Toronto's Globe and Mail who wrote: 'If life, as Keats suggests, is a 'mansion of many apartments', then this plot is its wrecking ball.'

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