When I first heard that the French booed Sofia Coppola’s new movie “Marie Antoinette” at the premier, I was a bit worried as we headed to the theater. Understandably, the French do not seem to enjoy or like anything Americans have done, but still – no one enjoyed it? Interestingly, many of the American reviews I read were much more positive, so I approached the film with an open mind. Upon leaving the theater, however, I was surprised to find myself in agreement with the French critics.
At first, the gorgeous set amazed me; it was, as many have said, “mesmerizing.” There were actually a couple of scenes where I felt dizzy and had to look away because the colors were so rich and bright. The cinematography was fantastic, especially as the movie progressed and the rich colors became darker to reflect the sobering mood. Another visual strength of the movie was that it was filmed outside of the actual Versailles. Shots like these added greatly to the authenticity of such a movie.
The wide angle shots were also very welcoming – like when the characters were in the gardens or in the woods – since the actual shots of scenes on the interior were, of course, more up-close and intimate.
Another wonderful aspect of the movie was the period-specific costumes and their quality. Each dress was more elegant and lavish than the next, as each enhanced the queen’s external extravagance. The detail was stunning and well-received by the audience, or at least the two older women sitting behind me, who were amused that the men wore makeup.
Although the filming of this movie created a beautiful picture, the plot in its entirety was boring. There were some points of comedy, especially in the absurdness of the royal court. But after seeing what felt like the same scene the for fifth time but changed only slightly, it became boring and stagnant.
The music was modern, which never fit with the scene and seemed inappropriate. The one song I did enjoy was “I Want Candy,” which played while showing clips of shoes, candy, wine and pastries, illustrating Marie’s ability and desire to buy and indulge.
Lastly, and most detrimental, the acting was flat. Kirsten Dunst, perhaps because of how her part was written, did not show any changes in her character at all. But then again, this would be hard since most of the scenes were of her partying.
The ending would have fit better if the first part hadn’t been so drawn out with similar scenes, and if it had gone into further detail about what happened to her when they left Versailles. This would have wonderfully illustrated her change in character and would have balanced the movie more. With more of a plot, this movie could have been a much greater success.