Friday, January 11, 2008

Marie Antoinette (2006)

"Are we there yet?"
- Marie Antionette (Kirsten Dunst)

Marie: Where will I be if there’s a rupture between our two families? Will I be Austrian, or Dauphin of France?
Ambassador Mercy (Steve Coogan): You must be both.

Ambassador Mercy : Her majesty would do well to be more attentive. Life is getting harder for the people of France. The bread shortage is grave.
Marie: There must be something we can do to ease their sufferings. Tell the court jeweler to stop sending diamonds.

A young Austrian (Kirsten Dunst) is sent to Versaille to marry a French prince, Louis (Jason Schwartzman). The entire court hopes they will produce an heir, but Louis seems to have no interest. Coppola experiments with the juxtaposition of modern indie music in a Sense and Sensibility setting (and, indeed, the casting and look of Dunst herself is another juxtaposition, made to enhance Antoinette’s position as an outsider), and adds other little touches, like Dunst acknowledging the camera during the opening credits. Coppola accomplishes the almost-impossible: To tell a coherent story by almost solely using striking visual images. The images include: Judy Davis’ haughty nostrils; Marie and three friends watching the sunset while a rock music soundtrack plays, looking like 21st century people dressed up as 18th century aristocrats at a fancy dress party; the birth and death of Marie’s third child, told solely by the hanging, and subsequent removal, of a royal painting. Rating: 3 of 4

"Pouring Coca-Cola in the cabernet, Sofia Coppola's dazzling Marie Antoinette couldn't be more anachronistic if it showed the queen of France saying, 'Let them eat sushi.' Coppola works in weird ways, but the real Versailles was so much weirder."
- Kyle Smith (New York Post)

"Let them eat cake? Sofia Coppola feeds it to us in spoonfuls -- pink, sugary, decadent. The entire film seems to have been squeezed onto the screen from a confectioner's pastry bag..."
- John Beifuss (Commercial Appeal)

"A startlingly original and beautiful pop reverie that comes very close to being transcendent."
- Carina Chocano (Los Angeles Times)

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