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
The movie references Marie Antoinette's sexuality and explores her image as a lesbian icon. Though France at the time was crass and graphic on the accusations of lesbianism (among others) against Marie Antoinette, the LGBT community celebrates her as one of the most prominent icons, standing beside Sappho, and historians reveal that there may have been some truth to them; even those who remain skeptical of Marie Antoinette's sexuality acknowledge the intense intimacy of her relationship with her ladies in waiting, especially Lamballe and Polignac. The queen's interest in women extended beyond; the account of Mary Robinson, a well-known English writer and actress at the time, tells that the Queen "appeared to survey, with peculiar attention, a miniature of the Prince of Wales, which I wore on my bosom.". The movie covers some of Marie Antoinette's sexuality by exploring her relationship and feelings with Polignac, in inconclusive ways (through bits and pieces heard by the servants). 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 »
A marvelous film. Very rarely does a film based on fact, especially a story as infamous as this one, succeed at creating such tension despite the fact that everyone knows pretty much what is going on and what will happen (United 93 springs to mind). As it is director Benoît Jacquot and his team have done a incredible job in capturing the confusion, uncertainty and pure dread that those living at Versailles in the final days of the Monarchy must have felt. Seriously, anyone who's ever dismissed period dramas and films based on true stories as "stuffy", slow and boring should give this one a shot. The cast is also exceptionally strong, led by a group of immensely talented female performers. The only downside is really the ending, unfortunately, slightly anticlimactic and a bit of a let down.
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