Marie Antoinette (2006) Review

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.

My Opinion:

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

CAKE!!!!!!!!

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:

The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976) Review

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The Man Who Fell To Earth

Directed by Nicolas Roeg

Starring

David Bowie
Rip Torn
Candy Clark
Buck Henry
Bernie Casey

Plot Synopsis (via Wikipedia):

Thomas Jerome Newton is a humanoid alien who comes to Earth from a distant planet on a mission to bring water back to his home planet, which is experiencing a catastrophic drought.

Newton uses the advanced technology of his home planet to patent many inventions on Earth, and acquires incredible wealth as the head of a technology-based conglomerate, World Enterprises Corporation, aided by leading patent attorney Oliver Farnsworth. His wealth is needed to construct his own space vehicle with the intention of shipping water back to his planet.

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My Opinion:

I’d been wanting to see this movie for a very long time and finally got the opportunity when it was on TV a couple of weeks ago. I’m a huge David Bowie fan. Okay – More a fan of his music than his, um, acting. But I’m glad I finally got to see this intriguing, unusual, crazy, slightly fucked up, and totally 70’s film.

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This film is a bit of an incoherent mess, quite frankly. It starts with Bowie coming to Earth. Then we suddenly get this college professor, Rip Torn, screwing lots of college girls. LOTS of screwing. There’s a lot of sex in this movie. And nudity. And naked Bowie (yes!).

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They show Bowie experiencing new things on Earth while Rip Torn does lots of screwing. I think they’re trying to show that he & Bowie have some sort of psychic connection? Then Bowie meets a sweet & simple girl, Candy Clark, and they start a relationship. And have lots of sex. And Bowie drinks a lot and watches multiple TVs all at once. And we see Bowie’s wife & kids slowly dying back on his home planet. And we see Bowie penis! And we see weird alien sex involving a milky substance that looks a bit like when Bishop is ripped apart in Aliens. And all of a sudden Bowie has a spaceship to fly back home and, oh yeah, I forgot that was the whole point of the movie. Then people are getting thrown out of windows and I’m losing the plot a bit. And the guy who’s the teacher in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is suddenly in the movie and I’m still not sure what his role was. Then there’s crazy gun sex and contact lenses and nipple tweaking and WTF. The end. Well, not quite the end but I won’t give the end away.

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So, yeah. When this movie finished, I admit that I just kind of sat there going “WTF?”. I watched this two weeks ago. Since then I’ve started to think that, actually, this movie was kind of freaking awesome. In a totally fucked up way. Why? Well, that’s simple: David Bowie, of course. He always has been and always will be thoroughly intriguing. Who better to play an alien? And being an alien excuses any less than perfect acting, I guess. How are we meant to know how an alien would actually behave? 😉

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Candy Clark is very good as Bowie’s girlfriend on Earth. For me, the best parts of this movie by far are the ones focusing on their relationship. Whenever they focused on any characters other than these two, I lost interest. They were great together and it was fun watching their dysfunctional relationship. And their crazy gun sex.

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Summary:

I honestly don’t know what else to say so I’m going to just sum things up now. This movie is not good. Iconic, yes. But not good. But I didn’t care. Because… It’s David Bowie. And I love him. He makes me feel kind of funny, like when we used to climb the rope in gym class. (Does that line work if a girl says it? Also, we never actually climbed any ropes in my gym classes at school). This movie LOOKS cool. Especially Bowie – he looks cool as hell. I mainly wanted to write this review just for the cool pictures I could post. No, this movie is not good. But I liked it. It’s horribly awesome and I have to own it on DVD. If you’re not a Bowie fan, though, you’ll probably want to avoid this movie.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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I’d like to also add that I recently went to the “David Bowie Is” exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. If you’re a Bowie fan and live anywhere near London, I highly recommend it. You get to see SO many personal items – I especially loved all his handwritten lyrics to all my favorite songs and his many costumes. It was excellent.

My Top Ten David Bowie Songs

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