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
Sofia Coppola refused to read the famous biography of Marie-Antoinette written by Stefan Zweig, which she judged too strict. She turned instead to the book by Antonia Fraser, which makes the queen a more human character, a young girl with no connection to reality who finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. See more »
At the hand-off, la Comtesse de Noailles tells Marie-Antoinette the tent was built astride the border of French and Austrian soil. This is a true historical event that happened in 1770 near the township of Kehl, in the German province of Baden-Württemberg, which was then part of the Holy Roman (Austrian) Empire. That province has changed ownership several times throughout history, and has been part of the Federal Republic of Germany only since 1953. See more »
Geez, I wish someone had told me this before I saw it...
Something you should know about this movie before you see it is that it does NOT attempt to be historically accurate. In fact, many scenes were purposely "sabotaged" with anachronisms to remind us that this is not a historical biography; instead it's meant to be a parable for the modern world.
If I had known that, I might have enjoyed the movie instead of grinding my popcorn with searing hatred through most of it.
Most noticeably, we're hit with a very non-18th century soundtrack: Adam Ant, Siouxie & the Banshees, The Cure, New Order, Bow Wow Wow, etc. And it's not just atmospheric background music either. There's actually a ballroom scene where they're rockin out to 80s post punk. If you don't realize the purpose of this odd juxtaposition, you might find yourself strangling the person sitting next to you.
Other anachronisms are more subtle but equally bizarre. When Marie Antoinette goes on her shoe shopping spree (to the tune of "I Want Candy", no less) if you look closely you'll see a pair of Converse hi tops in the picture. That's probably when it should sink in that the director is messin with you.
So the point of my review is to warn you NOT to expect any sort of historical accuracy, or even proper historical context. "Marie Antoinette" is more like the story of a 21st century teen growing up in a world of social jealousies, confused politics & cliquish loyalties. Only instead of the highschool hallways it happens in the Palace of Versailles.
That explains why the film "missed the opportunity" of chronicling the French Revolution, the royal flight to Austria, the subsequent trial for treason and other landmark events that you'd think would be covered in a film called "Marie Antoinette". But no, those weren't within the scope of the film.
In the IMDb "goofs" section, people have listed everything from "The real Marie Antoinette didn't wear underwear" to "18th century French forks should have 3 tines, not 4." Ooook. I'm sure those historians hated the movie like I did. But literally as I type this review, I'm hating the film less & less, and I might even try watching it a 2nd time. "Marie Antoinette" is definitely not your typical period piece, though the lavish visuals and big budget might lead you to believe it is. Approach it instead as an experimental indie type film with no rules, and you might really enjoy it.
For me it might be too late, but if you haven't seen this movie you should have fun if you know to expect a modern day story that's ironically set in the late 1700s. It's a good flick, although I question why it won at Cannes (actually, when you see the end credits and realize how much money this production brought to France, maybe there's no question why it won). Definitely do not expect an 18th century European history lesson. For that, stick with the excellent period piece "Amadeus" and the very entertaining 1961 Sophia Loren film set during the French Revolution, "Madame".
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