Louis was only twenty when he found himself the unwilling king of France. Immature, anti-social and awkward, he is at a loss at what to do. He relies on a succession of advisers, who pull Louis to and fro in confusion, while at the same time other factions are determined to profit from his lack of acumen.
All through this film I continued to think of how closely it parallels our economic and political problems in the United States today.
We have a leader who clearly wants to do the right thing by his people. Yet he sometimes appears indecisive, conciliatory, and continues to change counsel. He is faced with a parliament (congress) that stubbornly rejects everything and anything he wants to accomplish, and an increasingly frustrated and unhappy public,effectively demonstrated by our messy Occupy Wall Street manifestations throughout the country. And while our president should not be blamed for all our problems, it is upon his shoulders that the blame ultimately falls.
We have the tea party idea so neatly expressed in the picture, that there are three groups: The ruling class (read the rich), the church and the working people. The church pays in that it constantly prays for the nobility. The idea of taxing the church is immediately cast aside as too ridiculous for serious consideration. That leaves the princes of blood (the rich) and the working class. It is the obligation of the working class to work and pay taxes so the privileged may continue their comfortable lifestyle. That's the natural order of things. That's God's plan.
And lastly, as the picture points out, the court at Versailles lives in a bubble, completely isolated from the reality of the world around it. Our representatives and senators appear to be living in the same sort of impregnable bubble. They will not or cannot hear the voice of the public. When an adviser points out to the king the excess of one prince who used over 160 horses for a little visit to the countryside, the king can only say, but we have over 2,000.
The man who did not want to be king is a beautifully produced film, well told and beautifully photographed. If I'm allowed one little complaint, I personally felt Louis was a little on the thin side. I always picture him as a bit on the chubby side. (Think my personal favorite Louis XVI, Robert Morley). Besides, although I won't mention his name, Louis XVI looks a great deal like a popular American comic (to me at least.).
Louis' weakness and lack of self-confidence, however, are well-expressed in his facial and body language, as well as in his speech.
King Louis XVI found himself in the unfortunate position of being at a total loss in his new position. Pushed and pulled from every side, he allowed too many cooks in the kitchen. They came and went while the country simply went.
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