Farewell, My Queen (2012)
"Les adieux à la reine" (original title)

R  |   |  Drama, History, Romance  |  21 March 2012 (France)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 5,507 users   Metascore: 67/100
Reviews: 28 user | 130 critic | 20 from Metacritic.com

A look at the relationship between Marie Antoinette and one of her readers during the first days of the French Revolution.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
La duchesse Gabrielle de Polignac
Henriette Genest dite Madame Campan
Jacob-Nicolas Moreau - l'archiviste de Versailles
La servante Honorine Aubert (as Julie-Marie Parmentier de la Comédie Française)
Lolita Chammah ...
La domestique Louison
Marthe Caufman ...
La domestique Alice
Vladimir Consigny ...
René dit Paolo
Dominique Reymond ...
Madame de Rochereuil
Anne Benoît ...
Hervé Pierre ...
L'abbé Hérissé (as Hervé Pierre Sociétaire de la Comédie Française)
Aladin Reibel ...
L'abbé Cornu de la Balivière
Monsieur de Jolivet


In July 1789, the French Revolution is rumbling. Far from the turmoil, at the Château de Versailles, King Louis XVI, Queen Marie-Antoinette and their courtiers keep on living their usual carefree lives. But when the news of the storming of the Bastille reaches them, panic sets in and most of the aristocrats and their servants desert the sinking ship, leaving the Royal Family practically alone. Which is not the case of Sidonie Laborde, the Queen's reader, a young woman, entirely devoted to her mistress; she will not give her up under any circumstances. What Sidonie does not know yet is that these are the last three days she will spend in the company of her beloved Queen... Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | History | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief graphic nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






| | |

Release Date:

21 March 2012 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Farewell, My Queen  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$72,100 (USA) (13 July 2012)


$72,100 (USA) (13 July 2012)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


In this movie, Diane Kruger speaks French with a German/Austrian accent - which is undoubtedly how the Austrian-born Marie Antoinette would have spoken herself. See more »


On several occasions when soldiers are marching through the main and side gates of Versailles, and also when Sidonie goes to Le Petite Trianon for the first time and falls into a puddle, you can clearly see the very 21st century anti-terrorism concrete security barriers and bollards flanking the gates. See more »


Agathe-Sidonie Laborde: In a way, Your Majesty, you're asking me to go as bait.
La reine Marie Antoinette: An ugly word for a pretty mouth!
Agathe-Sidonie Laborde: Words are all I possess. I wield them well.
See more »

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User Reviews

More about seduction, loyalty, and betrayal than social upheaval
17 September 2012 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

Written and directed by Benoît Jacquot and based on the novel by Chantal Thomas, Farewell, My Queen explores the death throes of the French monarchy over a period of three days in July, 1789. Set in the Palace of Versailles at the beginning of the French Revolution, Sidonie (Lea Seydoux), known as the reader for Queen Marie-Antoinette (Diane Kruger), is responsible for selecting books and reading them aloud to the queen. Because of her closeness to the monarch, she is able to act as a spy, securing information about events taking place inside and outside the palace, pressing selected servants for information, and eavesdropping on conversations to gather the most up-to-date gossip to pass along to Marie.

The film is seen from Sidonie's point of view, a vantage point that illuminates the sharp social divisions inside the palace with the servants living in crowded rat-infested quarters, and the royals dwelling in opulent accommodations. Lea Seydoux delivers a powerful performance as the devoted servant of the queen, conveying an air of mystery about who she really is in a way that adds to her allure. Kruger portrays Marie-Antoinette as sensual and hedonistic and there is a hint of more than Platonism in the way she interacts with both Sidonie and the Duchess de Polignac (Virginie Ledoyen), a relationship that tests Sidonie's loyalty.

On the morning of July 15th, news spreads rapidly that the king had been awakened at two in the morning. No one knows the reason, but fear spreads throughout the court. If the king is ill, who will protect those totally dependent on the nobles who control their lives? It is soon revealed, however, that the king is not ill, but that a mob has stormed the Bastille and a revolt has begun against the aristocracy. Little information is available. Rumors abound based only on conversations whispered in the hallways and the servant's quarters. When the King travels to Paris and the Queen decides against an escape to Metz, an aura of inevitably descends on the Palace and the nobles begin to abandon ship, competing for places on the coaches seeking a safe haven.

Antoinette makes every effort to continue with business as usual, looking at magazines to admire new styles and colors for the coming season, paying scant attention to the fact that her name is number one in a list of 300 targets for the guillotine. Fearful of losing her only connection to the world, Sidonie is willing to risk the ultimate sacrifice if it is in the queen's best interest. Even though Farewell, My Queen is historically questionable and may hold us at arms length emotionally, it provides a fresh view of events that we know about only from history books or stuffy costume dramas.

Jacquot captures the authenticity of time and place and also the human side of the power struggle. Unfortunately, the film pays little attention to the issues that led to the revolt, never mentioning the abuse of power by the monarchy. Indeed, the Revolution serves only as a backdrop for the story which is more about seduction, loyalty, and betrayal than social upheaval. Rather than making a statement that is relevant for our times, the intricacies of sexual intrigue and love triangles dominate the film, titillating rather than persuading, and making the goings on difficult to care about.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Recent Posts
The courtesans speaking in English The_Swiss
Why would she need a reader tillysma
Diane Kruger replaces Eva Green! apple_annie
this film is so surface-y Rheli
Runtime? ReganRebecca
Any news/info on a DVD release date? ar_twelve_22
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