Jan 13, 2007

Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette has been a film I wanted to review for a while but only now did the time present itself. I was big fan of Sofia Coppola's first two films particularly "Lost in Translation", a funny and very moving tale of friendship and lost feelings. When I saw the trailer many months ago featuring New Order's "Age of Consent", I was naturally excited. Unfortunately I found the film a bit of a disappointment. It starts with Marie (Kirsten Dunst), leaving Austria to become the arranged bride of Louis Auguste, the Dauphin of France. The story mainly focuses on her struggle to bear a child with her new husband, her battles to fit in with the rituals of the stuffy French Court and her excessive spending when she becomes Queen. From what I understand of her history the film is quite accurate in portraying her daily rituals and her relationship with her husband and her demanding mother. The film never intends to be a historical document, only lightly touching on French politics at the time and some critics have had trouble with the rock soundtrack and American accents. That didn't bother me, I think my main problem with the film is at heart the subject matter. Being a staunch Republican, I find all Monarchies irrelevant and basically abhorrent. Now where a film like "Elizabeth" at least served as a powerful historical document, "Marie Antoinette" felt very shallow with its displays of decadence and ridiculous rituals. Now that is probably what the film maker intended but it only gave me a feeling of disconnection. Now the film did have some moments of sheer beauty and the director had full use of Versailles so there is plenty for the eye to feast on. The cast is excellent, Kirsten Dunst is charming in the lead role and Judy Davis, Steve Coogan, Shirley Henderson and Rip Torn are all great. Our own Rose Byrne is simply radiant as the vivacious Duchesse de Polignac. The soundtrack is quite good also, although not amazing, I did like hearing New Order's "Ceremony" at the Queen's birthday. For me the master of combining images and music is Wes Anderson. Anyway here is the best song and perhaps one that could have found its way onto the soundtrack in honour of the lead actress.

MP3: Ceremony
MP4: Kirsten Dunst (Pivot)


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