I caught Sophia Coppola's "Marie Antoinette" on opening day and thought I'd jot down some comments here because a) nobody has mentioned this yet and b) I'm kinda sure this sorta art flick isn't Todd's cup o' cawfee.
So I met my friend at the theater and we went in to see the movie without snacks. Some interesting previews: "Fur" and "The Fountain", not sure about the plots but visually they looked very interesting, which I'm guessing is why they were shown with "M.A.", which was supposed to be a visual extravaganza. And it was.
"Marie Antoinette" is a film viewing the life of Marie Antoinette as she is notified at the age of 14 of her betrothal to Louis XVI, the prince of France, to her departure from the palace right before the revolution. This film has been called shallow by some critics and was boo'd at the Canned Film Festival [amidst a small smattering of applause]. I can understand the latter sentiments; however I think there were many nuances and subtleties that a lot of folks missed.
Visually this film is really brilliant and the way the shots and editing tie in with the eclectic soundtrack. However, this film also seems to be very 'American' focused [which might explain the boo-ing]. One would assume that because July 14th Bastille Day is a French National Holiday [and marked the downfall of Louis and Marie's regime], that perhaps the current populace isn't too crazy about their past leaders. [Makes me wonder if someone did a sympathetic movie about our current US administration what the reaction would be...probably would depend on the state. But I digress.] The American focus comes up a few times in the film where the king is deciding with his advisors whether or not they should send money to the Revolutionists in the US to fight England. Louis has a good point [and perhaps some ironic foreshadowing] when he says he can't support people that overthrow their sovereign. BUT one of his advisors reminds him how much they hate England so the King quickly rolls on the decision and money is sent. This scene is then replayed later when the peasants are literally starving in the streets; when the King again agrees to send $, not one other advisor puts up a fuss. Not one? Maybe the King and Marie haven't been outside the gates in a while but his advisors must know how upset the peasants are at this point.
We never see the peasants [although we certainly hear them] and perhaps this has also thrown the critics into a frenzy because the audience doesn't have their noses rubbed in the squalor and hunger-driven revolt that can be seen in "Les Miserables" and other movies/plays. However, I thought it was a film truly depicting the viewing of Marie Antoinette and how a literal child was expected to go in and, with her wedding vows barely spoken, just instantaneously know about woo’ing an equally inexperienced husband, dealing with the court gossip and politics, addressing political upheaval from neighboring countries and let’s face it, creating some really good PR with the peasants. I’m not saying her naiveté can justify the excessive shoe purchases while her [adopted] country is starving, but it kinda seems like her parents sent her to the slaughter in exchange for an alliance.
Although the story did slow down two thirds of the way thru and the ending is somewhat abrupt, if you have a big TV screen, at least rent this at some point. Kirsten Dunst is always great and here she is no exception.
Ok, maybe this isn’t the greatest flick in the world but at least it isn’t a remake of a remake. Somebody in Hollywood is TRYING. At least this time they had a budget for costumes.