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
Sophia Coppola really seems to know how to ruin a potentially great movie concept. Marie Antoinette is a fascinating figure in European history and one would expect the movie to account for at least a few interesting things that happened when she came to France to live with the prince. What we see is another sugarcoated Hollywood movie which is pretty much exactly like those teen highschool movies where rich young girls gossip, obsess with fashion and popularity etc. The only difference here are the costumes and the fact that not all the women in this movie are as young.
To top it off, the soundtrack...well, let me first put it this way, as a stand alone compilation, it's terrific to listen to but the way the modern tunes and songs have been incorporated in the sequences looks ill fit. It looks like a the characters have gone to a current day costume party rather than a movie of the period. Moreover, Coppola fails to draw the body language and nuances of the French culture from her actors. Not once does one get the impression that this is a story about France. As a result of bad direction and terrible writing, the performances of the actors suffer even though Kirsten Dunst does the best she could with the given material.
The director portrays Antoinette as naive and frivolous. There is no mention of her historical accomplishments or failures. Now it isn't an easy task to convincingly tell the story of a historical figure in two hours but Coppola focuses the entire two hours on Antoinette being fascinated by her riches and partying around. A competent director and writer could have done so much more with the storytelling. In the current case, only near the very end things start to move along but here too the story speeds up at such a superfast pace that the ending is extremely abrupt and contrived.
'Marie Antoinette' is like a bad birthday present that is wrapped beautifully but once unwrapped, the gift itself is far from satisfactory.
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