The story of King George VI of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, his impromptu ascension to the throne and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch become worthy of it.
Helena Bonham Carter,
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
In the 1938 film Marie Antoinette, Norma Shearer refused any complimentary make-up for the final scene showing her character going to the guillotine. She wanted to look as haggard and exhausted as the real queen had in her final moments. In the final scene for this movie, Joely Richardson expressed the same effects as she tried to convey as her reflection can be viewed in the water bucket beside guillotine before the beheading. See more »
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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A ...NECKLACE Made of Both True Gems and Fabulous Fakes
Despite John Sweet's uneven script, this fact-based tale of intrigue and scams in Marie Antoinette's court is watchable thanks to sumptuous production values (Milena Canonero's gorgeous costume design garnered an Oscar nomination), scene-stealing performances by Christopher Walken and Adrien Brody (who even gets into some swordplay as the heroine's dissolute nobleman husband. Few people can make lechery and debauchery look as sexy and fun as Brody does here! :-), and good solid work from most of the rest of the cast. In this drastic change of pace from her Oscar-winning performance in BOYS DON'T CRY, Hilary Swank plays Jeanne St. Remy de Valois, who takes revenge on her father's death and her family's ruin by pulling a scam on Cardinal Jonathan Pryce involving an ornate diamond necklace designed for exiled Madame DuBarry and spurned by the Queen (Joely Richardson captures Marie Antoinette's self-absorbed naïveté while still managing to make me feel a little sorry for her, knowing she'd pay for her foolishness with her life). Swank's performance isn't bad, but it's not as assured as it should be, considering that Jeanne's plot turned out to be instrumental in spawning the French Revolution. Next to the rest of the sterling cast, which also includes Brian Cox and Simon Baker, Swank sometimes comes across as a little girl who's playing dress-up and feeling self-conscious about it. FTR, my fave line comes from Brody who, after being shot by Swank's lady-in-waiting during his swordfight with Baker, is having the bullet in his butt removed none-too-gently by a doctor: `Good God, are you digging for potatoes?!` :-)
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