Thursday, November 09, 2006

Marie Antoinette

This film had me from the start but lost me somewhere between the pastry trays and the French Revolution. Sophia Coppola does a fine job of recreating 18th century Versailles and all the excesses that befit the royal family. The excess of food, drink, gambling, clothing, and most of all, boredom are all portrayed lavishly by Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Judy Davis, Steve Coogan, Asia Argento, and Rip Torn.

What drives the first half of the film is the problem of consummating the marriage for Marie and Louis. Once solved, all we can do is wait for the revolution while Marie spends like crazy and Louis empties the royal treasury donating war funds to the Americans fighting their own revolution.

The use of contemporary music and dialog by Ms. Dunst work in a fun and illuminating way as we watch this young girl grow into her place in history. But even this starts to wear thin as we begin to anticipate the next song selection turning the film into a very long music video.

Ms. Coppola has a very artistic vision as a director and the film looks fabulous. The problem is she falls victim to her own excess. Endless shots of Ms. Dunst from every angle possible carry the boredom of the court into the boredom of the theater. Had she cut 20 minutes, I think the film would have been much tighter and more enjoyable.

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