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
Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI actually had four children, not three as pictured in the painting in the movie. Their fourth child, Sophie-Beatrix died as a baby as was insinuated by the painting, but at that time they also had three other children. Marie-Therese, Louis-Joseph and Louis-Charles. Louis-Joseph would have just passed away (from tuberculosis) at the time that Versailles was overthrown. In the original painting of Marie Antoinette and her four children Louis-Charles in sitting on her lap, this is not shown in the painting in the movie, nor are the ages of the children accurate historically. See more »
Visually stunning, surprisingly touching, and Cool with a capital C!
This movie is the very essence of cool. Who in the world could make a two hour film that captures the incredible historical complexities of the French Revolution and the political intrigues of the court of Louis XVI? The reason that "The Queen" works so well is that it focuses on that one week in the life of modern day Britain and the court of Elizabeth II. Truths are stated, complexities described, and the audience gets a real insight into the historical times and the personal stories being told. Try to portray years and years of British history, and the subject would be unwieldy and issues skirted over. Sophia Coppola goes for it, describing years and years in the life of an even more complex time. But she doesn't just do a historical survey. Leave that for the detailed books and college courses. For that is what it takes to come to terms with one of the greatest upheavals in history. Instead, she gives us an Impressionistic fable (worthy of being hung in the Louvre). Visually this is one of the most stunning films I have ever seen. I have visited Versailles twice. It was spectacular and beautiful - but this is probably the first time in my experience where a movie is just as good (maybe even better!) than the real thing! Somehow it is MUCH more fun seeing Versailles with the people in their period costumes rather than with hundreds and hundreds of tourists.
I predict that Sophia Coppola is going to become one of the great, even legendary film makers. She takes audacious risks. And she takes them successfully! I've seen the movie now twice. The first time, the juxtaposition of modern dialog and expressions with the 18th century milieu, and the modern music with the late Baroque/Classical was jarring. But before I knew it I was totally seduced by the wildness of these juxtapositions. The moment when I became absolutely knocked out by this film, was Marie Antoinette's first walk through the palace, with the endless bowing, and the children with their bouquet's looking like miniature Marie Antoinettes, and that vaguely Oriental music playing in the background. This was an exotic world - fascinating, dreamlike, and seductive.
The result of all this craziness and wildness is a movie which is simply unforgettable. I find myself thinking back on those scenes - and I want to revisit this great Impressionistic canvas of a movie. Hedonistic - of course. But Versailles, in all its hedonism lives on, and will always live on.
The movie could have become simply a guilty pleasure, or just a cool, hip statement - but it actually goes beyond that - it actually becomes touching, as we feel the ultimate pain of those baffled royals much in the way we were all sorry for the poor rich princess in "Roman Holiday", or our own poor rich princess Diana. Total thanks for these surprisingly strong feelings comes from an extraordinary performance by Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette. There isn't a frame of the movie that she appears in, in which her facial expressions don't speak volumes and volumes - expressions of joy, innocence, wisdom, callousness, and ultimately humanity.
I give this movie a 10. Some will say the film is quirky, but I also predict that it will live on as one of the most fascinating films of recent years.
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