Monday, 2 July 2012

Review - Marie Antoinette (2006 - Dir. Sofia Coppola

I occasionally enjoy some historical drama, purely because the only things we studied in GCSE history in the 1980's Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire were trade unions, the Peterloo massacre and the Tolpuddle Martyrs. Consequently, I understand nothing about wider British history, let alone its European and world counterparts, and recently films have helped to plug the gaps in my knowledge.

I had high hopes as the director and lead actor combination (Coppola/Dunst) had previously produced the excellent Virgin Suicides, but my initial optimism proved a little misplaced. Marie Antoinette gets caught in the crossfire of not knowing what it wants to be. Is it a romantic comedy, an alternative view of history or a serious costume drama? It ends up being non of these things and ends up a distinct oddity. Coppola has admitted that her representation of events is intentionally stylised and modernised to increase our connection with the characters, but this still doesn't hold water.

On the positive side, it's a visually stunning film, but scratch the surface and you are left with more questions than answers. Dunst almost pulls the show around by proving gorgeously coquettish, however she's let down by the clashing range of American accents on offer in regency era France, some one dimensional male love interest(s), and by the casting of Alan Partridge as some sort of wooden butler/advisor. The soundtrack is interesting if equally bizarre, with Gang of Four, Siouxsie and Bow Wow Wow sitting shoulder to shoulder with Vivaldi and the Aphex Twin!

It's not all bad and at least held my attention for the duration, but I have little insight into the life of the real Marie Antoinette other than the fact that she didn't actually ever say 'Let them eat cake.' The whole thing could have been improved in Alan Partridge had been allowed to shout 'Eat my goal!' a couple of times. Or better still 'Eat my cake!' 

If you like this you could also try:
Virgin Suicides, The Lost Prince, Paris, Je T'Aime.


  1. I couldn't even finish Marie Antoinette,worth it for Dunst maybe.

    The 2-disc soundtrack is surprising one of my absolute favourites of the last 5-6 years.

    Yes, I too read they toook liberties with the storytelling, so not an accurate history lesson.

    1. Dunst was probably the best thing about the Spiderman films too, but I still don't think I'd be bothered to sit through this. Glad that Doccortex did it for me.

  2. This is one of my favorite movies by Sofia Coppola. It was a bout a young girl who becomes a ruler without having the opportunity to become a woman herself. She was giving a Husband without finding love and was giving a whole country without any having any other possessions. Her role respresents a lot of rich celebs now who are giving Fame and fortune without any real understanding

    1. I can't say that I've seen this (mainly because it doesn't appeal - those fluffy wigs have to be combined with wolves for me to be interested). I can see your point about celebs now: with great power comes great responsibility...

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