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Avenging-Hobbits


A nerd who thought it would be cool to, with the help of a few equally insane buddies adapt the entire Marvel Universe (with some DC Comics thrown in for kicks) with My Little Pony...wish me luck

More Blog Posts1732

  • 37 weeks
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  • 223 weeks
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  • 239 weeks
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Dec
1st
2015

Review: Marie Antoinette (2006) · 6:18am Dec 1st, 2015

In Marie Antoinette, writer/director Sofia Coppola attempts to pain the last queen of France as just another teenage girl, who, by the cruel hand of history, was thrown into a world that she didn't understand.

However, as noble as the endeavor to humanize Marie Antoinette might be, Coppola fails spectacularly, creating a film that is high on kitschy style, but absolutely empty of substance or insight into Marie Antoinette.



Coppola's direction seeks to be intimate, and low-key, but in doing so, Coppola creates a film that lacks life. In her apparent pursuit for verisimilitude and naturalism, Coppola makes a film that lacks spark or vigor. Instead, the two hours drag along slowly, with her camera often barely moving for long periods, and an editing style that is firmly on the Slow end of the scale, the film drags like a wet mob, and yet at the same time, seems to be moving too briskly to truly allow the characters to grow.

The screenplay paints everyone as thinly drawn characters, and their motivations are held in a frustratingly vague cloud of alluded honor or duty or some such. On top of that, there are several deviations from the historical facts, such as Antoinette having an affair with a solider, a thing that never happened, are made all the more jarring by the apparent direct quoting of historical exchanges and events. All in all, it's an undercooked, sloppy affair of a screenplay. On top of that, dozens of conversations are to be had, yet a good 80% of them are quickly brushed away into the sound mix, overshadowed by the CONSTANT music, or by general ambient noise. And lastly, there is almost no real dialogue in the film, instead being contained in brief bursts, yet being spaced apart by seeming oceans of silence or minimal dialogue.

I will, however, admit that acting wise, the ensemble, consisting of Kristen Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Marianne Faithfull, Rip Torn, Jamie Dornan, Asia Argento, Rose Bryne, Judy Davis, Steve Coogan and more, are all doing their best to work with the sheer nothingness that Coppola gives them. In a bit of an ironic twist, Rose Bryne, playing the saucy Yolande de Polastron, does a better job at capturing the flighty, ephemeral party girl that all accounts suggest Marie Antoinette was. While Dunst is doing her best, she plays Antoinette very melancholic and introverted, seemingly having none of the fun loving charm that the historical Antoinette is said to have possessed. In fact, for a film that seemed to sell itself on being some strange, bubblegum, frenetic look at life in France, the film is freakishly low-key.

I mentioned earlier this film's constant use of music, and really, it's tortuously annoying. Coppola tries to contrast the party loving life of the French court with a bevvy of 80s new wave and post punk songs, with a wildly confusing mix of everything from Bow Wow Wow to Siouxsie and the Banshees to New Order to The Strokes to Adam and the Ants to The Crue to Vivaldi. And NONE of it fits...AT ALL. Instead, it gives the impression that Coppola left her playlist running while making the movie, before shrugging and just keeping it in the film.

So all in all, Sofia Coppola's third film is an empty, vapid, frustratingly boring experience, that does nothing to really give me insight to Marie Antoinette the person, or the world in which she lived.

The only positives I can give it is Lance Acord's cinematography, which is quite beautiful (if not ruined by Coppola's lifeless direction making it look like a fancy photo album), and the costume design, which rightly won an Oscar.

Of course, pretty colors and dresses don't a great film make.

Half a star.

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