Adele's life is changed when she meets Emma, a young woman with blue hair, who will allow her to discover desire, to assert herself as a woman and as an adult. In front of others, Adele grows, seeks herself, loses herself and ultimately finds herself through love and loss.
Georges and Anne are an octogenarian couple. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, also a musician, lives in Britain with her family. One day, Anne has a stroke, and the couple's bond of love is severely tested.
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
Les adieux à la reine (Farewell, My Queen) is a luxurious, visually stunning film about the moments before the citizens of France stormed the Bastille and headed for Versailles. Without a rather thorough understanding of that period of French history the film may leave some viewers confused as to the story line. This film is more about the manner in which Marie Antoinette functioned as a queen and as a woman with needs than it is about a precise description of what was occurring outside the palace walls.
In July 1789, the French Revolution is forming and gaining momentum. Seemingly oblivious to the people of France, at the Château de Versailles, King Louis XVI (Xavier Beauvois), Queen Marie-Antoinette (Diane Kruger) and their courtiers keep on living their usual carefree lives. The comparison to Upstairs Downstairs is evident - carried to the extreme. The matter of note is the window into the personality of Marie Antoinette who has been having a lesbian affair with the Duchess Gabrielle de Polignac (Virginie Ledoyen). To pass her time away when the Duchess is not available for assignations, Marie fills her hours looking at materials, fashion books, and she has a lady in waiting reader - Sidonie Laborde (Léa Seydoux) - read stories to her. The two become confidants and Sidonie is utterly devoted to Marie, knowing that Marie and Gabrielle are in a relationship. 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. Sidonie remains at Marie's side and as preparations for the evacuation of the palace are made, Marie asks Sidonie to disguise herself as Gabrielle and to escape to Switzerland with Gabrielle and her husband dressed in disguise: should the French stop their carriage it would be Sidonie that would be beheaded, saving Gabrielle to return to Marie when the 'nasty business outside Versailles is over'. Sidonie does as she is asked out of her devotion to Marie and the film ends with only with words of the results of the historical events (the beheading of Marie in 1793 etc) - a quite subtle and fitting ending to a moment of recreated history.
The film is based on Chantal Thomas' novel and written for the screen by Gilles Taurand and director Benoît Jacquot. The costumes and settings are magnificent and the other members of the large cast (especially Noémie Lvovsky as Madame Campan and Michel Robin as Moreau) are uniformly excellent. It is an interesting look at the characters of French history and though the film in many ways lacks substance it still merits seeing for the period piece that it is.
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