It’s Day 3 of Coppola Week & I’ll be reviewing Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette. I reviewed her film The Bling Ring on Monday and her father’s 80’s classic The Outsiders yesterday. Tomorrow will, as usual, be a Top Ten List (My Top Ten Coppola Movies, of course) and I’ll finish on Friday with a review of a 1974 film from Francis Ford Coppola. Now let’s talk about the lovely Marie Antoinette!
Marie Antoinette (2006)
Directed by Sofia Coppola
Based on Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser
Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Judy Davis, Rip Torn, Rose Byrne, Asia Argento
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
The retelling of France’s iconic but ill-fated queen, Marie Antoinette. From her betrothal and marriage to Louis XVI at 15 to her reign as queen at 19 and to the end of her reign as queen and ultimately the fall of Versailles.
It feels like I’d been wanting to see this movie for years. But as fellow movie bloggers will understand, I have a huge “To Watch” list & this one just kept getting put aside. I finally got up off my ass & watched it in preparation for a week of Coppola reviews when I realized that I’d already watched a few Coppola movies by coincidence. Well, damn… I think that I hyped it up too much in my mind while it sat on my To Watch list all these years. For the most part, I’m afraid to say that I found Marie Antoinette a bit boring.
There were three reasons why I really wanted to see this: 1) I think Sofia Coppola’s Lost In Translation & The Virgin Suicides are quite beautiful & brilliant and this appeared to have a similar look & feel. 2) It looked visually appealing from pictures I’d seen. 3) Coppola often chooses great music, such as the amazing Air score for The Virgin Suicides, so I was eager to hear what was on the soundtrack for this.
Well, I can confirm that this was indeed visually appealing and I really liked that about it. The costumes, the castle, all that CAKE! So I have no complaints there. I also liked Kirsten Dunst just fine – she’s not a favorite of mine but I’ve always liked her okay (although I assume she’s nothing like the real Marie Antoinette! Her Virgin Suicides role was more fitting). Sofia Coppola really has a thing for the female butt, though, doesn’t she? Didn’t Lost In Translation start with a shot of Scarlett Johansson’s butt? Well, you see Dunst naked from behind as she’s dressed to meet her future husband then you see plenty of her throughout the film as everyone gathers around to dress her every morning. Is that what they did with royalty in the old days? No thank you! I like my privacy.
As for the soundtrack, Coppola once again chose some great music. I’ll never complain about hearing The Cure or New Order! But, for some reason, I guess I thought we’d hear much more of the music. It’s mostly prominent in a couple of montages but, scattered throughout, I didn’t notice it all that much. It’s a small complaint – I think I was expecting loads of modern(ish) songs set in a time period from the past but, hey, this isn’t some Baz Luhrmann film. I prefer Coppola’s films to his anyway so I suppose I prefer the way she used the music. This would certainly be a good soundtrack to own.
I’ll admit that my knowledge of history is crap so I won’t pretend to know a thing about Marie Antoinette (or about any history – it’s not a subject that has ever interested me for some reason). I have zero clue how accurate this movie is meant to be. I mean, I’m pretty sure Marie Antoinette wasn’t a cute blonde American girl and that everyone in France spoke English, right?! I take it that this film is just meant to be a bit of fun and that Sofia really just wanted an excuse to play with pretty dresses, powdered wigs, and cake.
I found it interesting if the basic storyline is accurate, though. I did read a (tiny) bit about Marie Antoinette after watching the movie & the broad, overall story does sound correct. I was expecting a dumb & slightly annoying character as that’s how the real Marie Antoinette is portrayed somewhat with the “Let them eat cake” quote but that’s not at all how she’s portrayed in this film. She’s young & a bit naive but mostly is a “little girl lost” just doing as she’s told in her arranged marriage. In the film, she’s also unfairly hated by the general public and used as a sort of symbol for their negative feelings toward the monarchy. From the little I read of the real woman, this was true. I was also surprised to read that there is no evidence that she ever actually said “Let them eat cake” and that it’s very unlikely that she did. Talk about unfair!
Hey, maybe I’ll actually try to find some Marie Antoinette documentary to watch now. If you’re looking for that sort of thing, though, you probably wouldn’t watch Coppola’s film. I didn’t watch it for a history lesson – I watched it for the imagery & the soundtrack and I think that’s the whole reason it was made, with the Marie Antoinette story just happening to be the film’s backdrop. With that in mind, it was an enjoyable enough film & Coppola once again did a great job with the look & sound but it didn’t stop it from ultimately being a bit boring and feeling far longer than its actual runtime of just over two hours. I’m glad I saw Marie Antoinette and I liked it okay. I was just a little disappointed as I wanted to love it.
My Rating: 6.5/10
This is a good montage to watch if you want to get a feel for this movie. It features Bow Wow Wow’s I Want Candy:
And I have to include the New Order song, Ceremony, which is used in the film. Because I LOVE it: