Revisiting 'Marie Antoinette,' and why critics got the movie wrong
When queen of France Marie Antoinette was indicted in August , The plot had failed and the queen was transported back to her cell. Marie Antoinette Released: Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Jason This could have been summed up in an end note, although I would have at least . the nature of their sexual relationship and Marie Antoinette's mother writes. A girl made queen by the peculiar forces of 18th-century statecraft, Marie is by End Facebook Pixel Code --> marie-antoinette-review html" } changed her life will be, the many strings her marriage will have attached.
Booing at Cannes is a time-honored traditionbut there was a political aspect to the rejection — liberal French audience members were reportedly angry that Coppola appeared to be glamorizing the wildly unpopular royals. But at the June 6 screening of Marie Antoinette I attended at Brooklyn's Nitehawk Cinemathe entire audience appeared to be completely enthralled.
We basked in the film's lush textures, its acerbic, minimalist dialogue and its detached, semi-ironic tone. More than a decade removed from its original release, the film deserves to be celebrated for what it is: Coppola ignores what's best about Marie Antoinette's story. She doesn't seem to realize that what made this spoiled, rotten woman worthy of attention weren't her garden parties and fur-lined shoes, but the role she played in a bloody historical convulsion.
The director made a picture in which a lonely teenage girl, winsomely portrayed by Kirsten Dunst, could become a flesh-and-blood, eclair-savoring character worthy of her own story.
Dunst's Antoinette isn't some flat political figure typecast into whatever role seems most convenient or dramatic — the harlot, the heartless or the headless. In the hands of many other directors, this movie would have undoubtedly either begun or ended with the Queen's bloody, dramatic death by guillotine. Imagine screaming crowds, weeping children, hair being shorn off, a short speech drowned out by shouts before a sickening thwack: It'd be a scene that would feed our true crime-addicted appetites for gore and tragedy.
“Marie Antoinette”: Good Feel, No Context
With characters like the ugly and arrogant Maximilien Robespierre and the frenzied Jean-Paul Marat, confined to his bathtub with a skin disease, the French Revolution is ripe for a film that covers, as Dargis called it, the "bloody historical convulsion.
Coming off of two critically respected films 's moody The Virgin Suicides and 's melancholic Lost in TranslationCoppola had built the cache to helm an ambitious project in her own right, not just thanks to her famous family name. Marie Antoinette was Coppola's second collaboration with Dunst after Virgin Suicides their third, The Beguiled, premiered at Cannes this year and is due for a limited release in the U.
It's a film about a teenage girl thrust into a marriage and world she does not understand who, over the span of roughly two decades, grows into a charismatic, selfish, kind and unlikable woman. Coppola uses POV shots early on, when Antoinette's still an adolescent, looking up at terrifying painted and judgmental faces, listening to rustling fabric and gossip about people we don't yet know.
Critics and audiences who chastised Coppola for failing to show the larger picture beyond the famous palace seemed to miss the point entirely: Frustration with the nobles' inability to see beyond the gilded walls of Versailles is exactly what we should be feeling.
Antoinette's early suggestions that she and her husband — a standoffish stranger with no real interest in her, played by Jason Schwartzman — might go to Paris to see the opera are shot down and forgotten. Antoinette is constantly reminded that her very station depends upon becoming pregnant by that man, who responds to her attempts at flirtation with a chummy pat on the hand.
We are trapped here because she is trapped here and because the attentions of those in charge were trapped there, shackled to Schwartzman's milquetoast boy-king, with his bad haircut and lock-making obsession. Viewers feel not only Marie Antoinette's frustration but also the despondency that must've hung over the people of France at that time: They're impotent in the face of indulgence and incompetence. Which is not to say that Marie Antoinette is a claustrophobic film — quite the opposite.
Although it's cliche to remark that any single frame of the film might be a painting, it's worth acknowledging again just how beautiful Marie Antoinette actually is. Some of them met with the disapproval of the older generation, such as the abandonment of heavy make-up and the popular wide-hooped panniers .
From left to right: Inthe queen played a decisive role in the nomination of Charles Alexandre de Calonnea close friend of the Polignacs, as Controller-General of Financesand of the baron de Breteuil as the Minister of the Royal Householdmaking him perhaps the strongest and most conservative minister of the reign.
Empress Maria Theresa died on 29 November in Vienna. Marie Antoinette feared that the death of her mother would jeopardise the Franco-Austrian alliance as well as, ultimately, herselfbut her brother, Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperorwrote to her that he had no intention of breaking the alliance. Finally, the queen was able to obtain her brother's support against Great Britain in the American Revolution and she neutralized French hostility to his alliance with Russia. On the other hand, both the king and the queen trusted Mme de Polignac completely, gave her a thirteen-room apartment in Versailles and paid her well.
Count Axel von Fersenafter his return from America in Junewas accepted into the queen's private society. There were and still are claims that the two were romantically involved,  but since most of their correspondence has been lost or destroyed, there is no conclusive evidence.
As time went on, these came to focus more and more on the Queen. They described amorous encounters with a wide range of figures, from the duchesse de Polignac to Louis XV. It was publicly suggested that her supposed behavior was learned at the court of the rival nation, particularly lesbianism, which was known as the "German vice".
In the queen was busy with the creation of her " hamlet ", a rustic retreat built by her favoured architect, Richard Miqueaccording to the designs of the painter Hubert Robert. Those on music, often dedicated to her, were the most read, though she also liked to read history. Initially banned by the king due to its negative portrayal of the nobility, the play was finally allowed to be publicly performed because of the queen's support and its overwhelming popularity at court, where secret readings of it had been given by Marie Antoinette.
The play was a disaster for the image of the monarchy and aristocracy. This was unpopular, particularly with those factions of the nobility who disliked the queen, but also with a growing percentage of the population, who disapproved of a Queen of France independently owning a private residence.
The purchase of Saint-Cloud thus damaged the public's image of the queen even further. Marie Antoinette's four live-born children were: Marie Antoinette had profoundly disliked Rohan since the time he had been the French ambassador to Vienna when she was a child.
Despite his high clerical position at the Court, she never addressed a word to him.
Mme de La Motte tricked Rohan into buying the necklace as a gift to Marie Antoinette, in order for him to gain the queen's favor. Judged by the Parlement, Rohan was found innocent of any wrongdoing and allowed to leave the Bastille. Marie Antoinette, who had insisted on the arrest of the Cardinal, was dealt a heavy personal blow, as was the monarchy, and despite the fact that the guilty parties were tried and convicted, the affair proved to be extremely damaging to her reputation, which never recovered from it.
In her new role and with increasing political power, the queen tried to improve the awkward situation brewing between the assembly and the king.
Miniature of Marie Antoinette by Louis Marie SicardContinuing deterioration of the financial situation despite cutbacks to the royal retinue and court expenses ultimately forced the king, the queen and the Minister of Finance, Calonneat the urging of Vergennes, to call a session of the Assembly of Notablesafter a hiatus of years.
The assembly was held for the purpose of initiating necessary financial reforms, but the Parlement refused to cooperate. The first meeting took place on 22 Februarynine days after the death of Vergennes on 13 February.
Marie-Antoinette's torrid affair with Swedish count revealed in decoded letters - Telegraph
Marie Antoinette did not attend the meeting and her absence resulted in accusations that the queen was trying to undermine its purpose. It did not pass any reforms and, instead, fell into a pattern of defying the king. He began to institute more cutbacks at court, while trying to restore the royal absolute power weakened by parliament.