Directed by: Sofia Coppola
Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Judy Davis, Rip
Torn, Rose Byrne, Asia Argento, Molly Shannon, Steve
Released by: Columbia Pictures
Short: Sofia Coppola's vanity piece about
the doomed French queen is a study of personal
excess, told without an iota of passion or historical
Off With Her Head, Please!
Would Care to Save This Queen?
about an hour of watching Kirsten Dunst in the title role
of Sofia Coppola's deathly boring and misguided film “Marie
Antoinette,” a bad feeling comes over you. You may
look forward to the merciful moment when the French queen
is placed on the guillotine and put to death by the starving
peasants, and hope begins to form that then, at least,
this plodding vanity piece will finally be over, putting
you out of your misery.
alas, that is not the case. It goes on and on, two solid
hours of the most mind-numbingly dull filmmaking that
has come along in years. Yes, it is beautiful to look
at, with the bulk of the film actually shot at Versailles,
where Marie arrived as the 14-year-old Austrian bride
of the Dauphin (Jason Schwartzman), ascended to the throne
along with him at age 19, and lived until her death at
the hands of the revolutionaries at 37. The set decoration
is sumptuous; the famous gardens of the palace beautiful.
clothes are pretty, too, and hairstyles appropriately
wacky as befit the time, but those superficial elements
of the turbulent era are the only parts of the film that
actually evoke the era. Coppola's attempt to make a biographical
film about a woman who was apparently not as brainless
and self-indulgent as history has painted her is to present
her as just that, with endless scenes of her shopping,
gorging on pastries and Champagne,
and having her hair done.
performance is just as superficial, right down to an embarrassing
scene in which she's supposed to be crying uncontrollably,
yet the actress couldn't seem to squeeze out a single
tear. Schwartzman (Coppola's real-life cousin) is equally
out of his depth as Louis XVI; and Jamie Dornan, the Dior
model-turned-actor who plays Marie's secret lover, is
wooden, unconvincing and painful to watch.
is only the veteran (and actually gifted) thespians Rip
Torn and Judy Davis, as Louis XV and Countess de Noailles,
who give believable performances. Everyone else seems
to have agreed that this self-indulgent vanity piece was
the perfect opportunity to spend a few months hanging
out and partying while the cameras rolled, without a bit
of concern for creating a believable or interesting portrayal
of the time, or of the people who so famously lived—and
died—as France overthrew its monarchy.
off this turgid mess is the ultimate cop-out, for after
slogging through to the very end, we never actually get
the satisfaction of seeing Marie or Louis face their unfortunate
fate. So unless the idea of watching Kirsten Dunst eating
cake and lolling around in flouncy dresses is of deep
interest to you, “Marie Antoinette” is one
movie to avoid like the plague.