Marie Antoinette (2006)
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Review Date: October 18, 2006
Director: Sofia Coppola
Writer: Sofia Coppola
Producers: Sofia Coppola, Ross Katz
Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette
Jason Schwartzman as Louis XVI
Steve Coogan as Ambassador Mercy
A rich Austrian chick is sent to France to marry the King’s grandson and ends up being the Queen of France at the tender age of 18, despite having few skills to be anything of the sort. Instead, she spends most of her time partying it up, popping pastries into her mouth and boozing, gambling and wearing a lot of different outfits. What ensues is two hours worth of debauchery and cool tunes by hip, modern bands.
As seen at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival in May 2006

Despite lasting close to 2 hours, I have to say that this film was a pretty “easy watch” overall, because it essentially didn’t have much of a story and focused instead on the look, feel and sound of an era gone by. But even more importantly to non-history schmucks like myself, it was a historical film played to modern sensibilities. According to this film, the real Marie-Antoinette was a bit of a player, but did she really eat bonbons all day long, gossip incessantly with her gal-pals, sleep around, gamble, smoke weed and drink champagne like a P-Diddy party gone wild? Maybe, and maybe not. Either way, the lady is definitely…my kinda queen!! The truth is that I don’t really know the absolute truth because writer/director Sofia Coppola’s focus with this film is not complete historical accuracy or political depth, but rather, a specific profile of a really young girl tossed into an overwhelming situation and the ways in which she ultimately handled herself. Sure, things didn’t turn out so great for she and the Mister (what did you expect when you’re supposed to be running a country and instead, you’re worrying about what size trees to plant in your obscenely big backyard), but along the way, M-A (as I like to call her) had herself a friggin’ blast, seemingly partying it up like Tommy Lee in his heyday, while grooving to Coppola’s intriguing soundtrack, which belts out some of the best songs in any movie this year.

The film looks and sounds absolutely splendid, but the story ultimately drags somewhat as the lack of interest in sex from M-A’s husband takes up way too much time in the movie, and after a while, the beautiful looking scenes just started to look and feel redundant, only with different clothes, decorations and songs in the background. M-A is also consistently sloshing back the Moet and partying it up with her posse of decadent French beeyatches, which is all fine and good, but two hours worth? Yeah, that’s right, she liked to wear cool clothes, drink and have sex. I think the film would have worked even better with about 20-30 minutes cut from it though. Like I said earlier, the story basically isn’t much, just a “few years in the life of the Queen” as she parties it up and has some kids later on, but the film’s technical merits are uber-impressive (costumes, production design, make-up, direction, etc…), and enough for me to recommend to anyone who digs that sort of thing, especially if you enjoyed the New Order trailer for the movie. The actors are all “okay” with nobody really sticking out (although Asia Argento seemed to have a ball slutting it up!), but I have to say that both Schwartzman and Coogan were terribly reigned in here, with little to do but stand around and look like men without penises. Dunst also seemed to be having fun, but there wasn’t really any depth to her, or maybe there was and she just didn’t show it.

All in all, an interesting way to present a historical drama (look closely and you’ll notice some Converse shoes lying around a pack of dainty feetwear at some point), but not enough meat to consider an all-out success, despite the slick style compensating somewhat. “I want candy!!!”
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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