Thursday, March 3, 2011
I avoided this film for many years because of the content I'd heard about and the supposed historical inaccuracies. However it was at the library this week and I decided to check it out and give it a try.
I was pleasantly surprised.
"Marie Antoinette" is a film that deals with the life of France's most famous queen from the day she left her home in Austria, until the morning she rode away from Versailles to her imprisonment in the Bastille.
It is not meant to be a historical epic, but rather a portrait of life in the 18th century French court. Rather than a drama that follows a tight three act plot, it acts more as a documentary, a focus that is helped by the very natural acting of the stars and the usage of the real locations at the Palace of Versailles.
As someone who has been to Versailles and the gardens there, it was astonishing to see the actual rooms used in the films. It was amazing and really added to the reality of the experience.
It's a beautiful film, filled with the beauty of the artificial (clothing, hair and food) and the natural (the gardens and scenes of Versailles). It shows the excess of Marie Antoinette and her people, but allows the viewer to make their own judgement.
The movie is rated PG-13 for a reason, but it is perfectly historically accurate. Marie Antoinette was publicly naked every day when her ladies dressed her, she and her husband did have some very public issues when it came to the consummation of their marriage, and she probably did have an affair with Count Fersen. That said, I feel all of these subjects were handled fairly appropriately and while they are not matters suitable for younger viewers, this is a movie that adults interested in history and beautiful film should be able to appreciate.