Monday, March 26, 2007

movie review monday: marie antoinette

Marie Antoinette

Full Synopsis:
Writer and director Sofia Coppola puts a new spin on the life and times of one of Europe's most infamous monarchs in this lavish historical drama which fuses a contemporary sensibility with painstaking recreations of the look of the 18th century. Born to Austrian nobility, Marie Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst) is only 14 years old when she's pledged to marry Louis XVI (Jason Schwartzman), the 15-year-old king of France, in an alliance that has everything to do with politics and nothing to do with love. Sent to France and literally stripped of her former life, Marie weds Louis, but to the consternation of the royal court, he seems either unwilling or unable to consummate the marriage while their advisors clamor for an heir to the throne. Young and more than a bit out of step with the new life that's been thrust upon her, Marie gives herself over to the pleasures of life in Versailles, knowing and caring little of the political intrigue that surrounds her. In time, Marie's trusted older brother, Joseph (Danny Huston), is brought in to coach Louis on the finer points of marital relations, and before long the couple is finally blessed with a child. However, as Marie tends to her children in the gilded cage of her palace and enjoys an affair with a Swedish nobleman, political power plays are throwing France into chaos, and the growing ranks of the poor rebel against the royals and their life of privilege. Also starring Rip Torn, Judy Davis, Steve Coogan, and Asia Argento, Marie Antoinette was given a controversial reception when it premiered at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Running Time: 123 mins

There was a lot of buzz around this movie when it came out, I think mostly because it was coming from the director of Lost in Translation and it was her next movie. I remember seeing the previews and being captivated by this seemingly period piece put to more recent music. It looked beautiful and I was curious to see if it was actually a period piece or not. I never got around to seeing it in the theater, and after having watched it, I have to say I'm glad.

I didn't hate it, but I didn't entirely like it either. It was actually beautiful and the juxstaposition of modern music with period costumes and whatnot was pretty cool. I have no idea how accurate of a portrayal of Marie Antoinette this really was, but it was interesting to stop for a minute and think of royalty from ages ago as unsure teenagers struggling to find their place. I guess everyone struggles to find their place, but not very many people get to lounge around and choose expensive dresses or extravagent hairstyles and whatever else. Some of the scenes reminded me of modern day celebrities.

There was a good hour during the movie when I was thinking "Wow, this sure is pretty to look at, with all the costumes and beautiful landscapes, but is anything actually going to happen in this freaking movie?" That's when I realized that the movie is just like Lost in Translation. That is a completely bizarre statement, I know, but hear me out.

Everyone told me I would LOVE Lost in Translation because I lived in Japan. I really wanted to love it because I am quite the fan of artsy movies and am one of those people who likes the movies that are just a snippet from someone's life without any firm resolution at the end. I was bored for most of the movie though. It made me want to go to Tokyo again and it did a good job of portraying what it's like to be trying to get by in a foreign city when you don't know the language and can't even read the signs, but I was not amazed like it seemed everyone else was. I didn't hate it, but I was disappointed. It was a gorgeous film, and there were good moments, but overall I just wanted to know when something, anything, was going to happen.

So in conclusion, if you liked Lost in Translation, you just might like Marie Antoinette.

Rating: 1 of 4 stars.

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