Sofia Coppola once again outdoes herself in being able to capture boredom. If her intent was to emphasize the tedious and ridiculous court life in Versailles, then she did a masterful job. But, if her intent was to portray the tragic life of Marie Antoinette in a positive manner, she failed miserably.
The film, despite being jam-packed with excellent actors, did not strike a cord with the audience. Dialogue is minimal, allowing no character development. At one point I was convinced I was watching a silent film! Although even then, there was more dialogue (if only merely written in captions).
Asia Argento is wrongfully cast as Madame Du Barry, who historians revered as the most beautiful woman at Versailles. Argento, a lovely woman, doesn’t possess the ethereal features required. If both the director and the actress would’ve read Du Barry’s biography beforehand, they would’ve known that Du Barry would’ve never burped in the presence of the king and all the other nobles. Yes, Du Barry originally did come from the populace but she was noted for acting more refined than the other nobles. Argento would’ve made a more effective Jean Volois, the shrewd woman notorious for the demise of the monarchy when the scandal of the diamond necklace was revealed. A character that Coppola didn’t even spend a millimeter of film on, when Jean was an essential figure in French history.
Kirsten Dunst, an incredible actress known for her superb ability to act dramatic roles, was underused by Coppola. The director wasted too much time attempting to make Dunst appear extravagant rather than allow her to show Marie Antoinette’s inner courage and perseverance.
Coppola tried to bridge the gap between the generations using rock music as the film’s soundtrack. But saying that Marie Antoinette was the rock star of her times seems a bit farfetched. Sure, she was a major celebrity but for someone who hardly practiced sex and never drank alcohol, she hardly incarnated the “sex, drugs, and rock n’roll” lifestyle.
Marie Antoinette is a beautifully artistic film but with little historic authenticity. You’re better off reading a biography about her if you’re wanting to learn more about this tragic and enthralling Queen.