The retelling of France's iconic but ill-fated queen, Marie Antoinette. From her betrothal and marriage to Louis XVI at 15 to her reign as queen at 19 and to the end of her reign as queen, and ultimately the fall of Versailles.
"All eyes will be on you," says the Austrian Empress, Maria Theresa to her youngest daughter Marie Antoinette. The film, marketed for a teen audience, is an impressionistic retelling of Marie Antoinette's life as a young queen in the opulent and eccentric court at Versailles. The film focuses on Marie Antoinette, as she matures from a teenage bride to a young woman and eventual queen of France. Written by
and when she gets there, she gets bored, gossips, reads Rousseau, and has beach-blanket pot parties in Amadeus outfits. I did like the music, there is one inspired masked ball and a good "watch the sun rise" scene
the strength of this film is its connection to high school culture,
seen through the eyes of a sweet, utterly conventional and finally boring teenage girl, projected from the California suburbs onto 18th century France. This is obviously also the film's weakness: this movie is a beautiful, expensive still life that knows nothing at all about French history, Europe, the Revolution, the Bourbons, how the ancien regime worked, how incompetent wars and not Marie Antoinette's Imelda-Marcos-like shoe fetish ran up the debt, about the conflict in North America with England and Spain, about how leading members of French government actually had brains - the films displays a nitwit, decadent, wig-loving, golden-furniture France as though seen by a France-hater in the Bush administration. As my brother pointed out, the movie also blew the subject of a potentially great movie, which is Marie Antoinette's inspired, sometimes brilliant defense of herself at her later trial. Trying to learn about what happened to the French court from this film is like trying to learn about American corporate culture by watching J.R Ewing's 30 second business deals at the Cattlemen's Club on Dallas. Well sure, politics wasn't the subject of the movie, but why is the "chick stuff" buried in diamonds and champagne? That makes these women seem way less tough and intelligent than they actually were in the bloody contact sport of French court politics. As an American watching this in Paris I was struck by the film's lack of historical, political, and cultural sophistication, in which Dunst is in every single frame and it's all one gigantic royal slumber party until the peasants show up in an illiterate wordless mass baying for bread and blood and shaking their satanic harvesting tools. Ouch: The film makes the most sense as a weird allegory of Hollywood inbreeding.
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