starring Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Judy Davis, Rip Torn, Rose Byrne, Asia Argento, Molly Shannon, Shirley Henderson, Danny Huston, Marianne Faithfull, Mary Nighy and Steve Coogan
written and directed by Soffia Coppola
Based on the book Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Frasser, this is a very pink, confectionary film by Soffia Coppola. It might be said that from a director’s or an editor’s viewpoint the movie is esthetically accomplished. But from a story telling perspective it is fairly poor. So I would say that you can safely give Marie Antoinette a miss. It’s a dull film. Contrary to expectations, it tells us nothing about Marie Antoinette’s life (1755-1793), and nothing about politics or the turmoil of late 18th century France that lead to the Revolution of 1789 and subsequent execution of the King and Queen. Set entirely in the over-the-top opulence of the Versailles Palace, the story focuses on the arranged marriage of Marie (Kirsten Dunst), an Austrian, to the Dauphin of France, the future Louis XVI (played by Jason Schwartzman, perhaps best known for co-starring with Bill Murray in Rushmore), the difficulty of their early married life, and the ridiculously elaborate rituals of court life imposing on royal persons. Louis’father, King Louis XV is played by Rip Torn, who I greatly admire for his cool name. Marie’s mother, Empress Maria Teresa of Austria, is played by Marianne Faithfull, who I also greatly admire just because she is still alive. Strangely, we see no dramatization of the actual government of France by the king. That’s not what the film is about. The film is about a 14-year-old girl thrust into an arranged marriage and trapped in the court politics of the Versailles, not about the 38-year old Queen of France who was guillotined. In an age before electricity, television, and recorded music it looks like Marie entertained herself by feasting on strawberry shortcake and taking lovers. Frankly, I had trouble understanding why the film was made since it is about so little.
Almost nothing at all, actually.