Marie Antoinette (2006)
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It's easy to dish on Marie Antoinette: historians have been doing it for years on end. Much more daring is to praise and understand her - which is what Sofia Coppola does in this colourful movie. It's not a movie about French history, it's a movie about the loneliness of being female. We are invited to see through Marie's eyes: she's an young, inexperienced girl brutally taken from her home and thrown into a realm she new little about, stripped bare and forced to produce an heir with her indifferent husband. Trapped into the court of Versailles, where she has little right of being herself, she directs her bubbly energy into partying and shopping - reminescent of what so many socialites do today. Marie, however, didn't invent such lifestyle: it is shown that the French count already indulged themselves in such excess before Antoinette's arrival, meaning it was but a matter of time until their economy ate itself. Marie Antoinette was a symbol and scapegoat, a victim of the circumstances.
Coppola does a good job bringing Antoinette's human side to light through luscious photography and pacing: when Marie is excited, the movie's timing is more energetic; when she's bored, the movie drags on. The border scene is a good example of symbolism: Marie has her dog, symbol of her family home, taken away from her, and is told she can have "as many French dogs as she'd like": later in the movie, she is shown to have countless dogs, in a vain effort to replace the one she loved. Still during the border scene, notice how, as she leaves Austria and arrive in France, Marie wears blue: a symbol of her inner sadness. There is more to this movie than pretty costumes if you're willing to look, and understand Marie Antoinette's side of the history.
I think this is an under-appreciated film. Not only is it beautifully shot and beautiful to watch, but it tells its story from a fairly historically accurate and interesting perspective. Historically accurate for the time, of course. The soundtrack is also quite good.
Is this movie implying we should guillotine the Kardashians?
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