Well, it seems the holiday season is just around the corner,
and as usual, Hollywood scrambles to give us what they think we’d like. So far,
I’d have been happier with the proverbial lump of coal in my stocking.
The new film season has gotten off to a slow start, beginning with “Marie
Antoinette”. Honestly, I tried to get into this film as I did the original.
The costumes were incredible, the acting, for the most part, quite good.
Kirsten Dunst definitely steals the show as the doomed queen, an admirable
accomplishment given the lack of support from her fellow actors. Good as they
were, they were given little to do other than to stand around and make Dunst
look good. The locales were far better than the original, especially the wedding
sequence, which was filmed in the celebrated Hall of Mirrors at Versailles,
despite the ongoing restoration of the wing. The cinematography was incredible,
adding a scope and breadth the original couldn’t have dreamed of. While the film
does boast some solid performances, most of the top actors were grossly
underused. Judy Davis (originally, approached to play Maria Theresa
of Austria,) was wonderful as the Contessa de Noailles, and Jason Schwartzman
had a chemistry with Dunst that was sorely lacking between Norma Shearer
and Robert Morley in the original. Rip Torn was good, as always as
Louis XV. But here the laudable performances end. The rest of the cast
like the sets and costumes are little more than window dressing.
Where director Sofia Coppola totally missed the mark was the score. Were
this a parody, or a sketch on the Carol Burnett Show, the anachronistic
music would have been a bonus. However, in a legitimate period piece such as
this, it detracts from the work almost to the point of being annoying. Steel
guitars and toneless voices have no place in the most glamorous royal court in
the history of Europe! Worse yet, the incongruities of the film, blunders that
out would not expect from a film of such magnitude and budget. In one scene, a
platter of food on a table mysteriously vanished between camera angles. In the
scene where the champagne glasses are tiered and the wine is poured into them,
that style of glass hadn’t been invented yet. But most laughably, is the scene
where Marie Antoinette is rummaging through her closet in search of some shoes,
and one can see, if one looks closely, a pair of designer basketball shoes. Who
know the Queen of France liked to play horse? Not me!
All in all, even if you’re a total purist such as me, you’ll enjoy this movie.
“Marie Antoinette” tells a story, albeit a sad one, and does it with style and
grandeur rarely found in films today. Dunst make you really care about her
character, and if you don’t find yourself weeping here and there, you’ve got
Dasani flowing through your veins. Overall, the film could have been better, but
then I suppose that holds true of all movies. But nonetheless, this one does
what it intended to do, which is to sweep the viewer up in a whirlwind on
glamour and excess, and drop you tokhes first into the most bloody era in
history. I don’t advise you eat anything before seeing this one. The executions
scenes while restrained in their graphics are staged very realistically, and not
for the faint-hearted! And for those of you on a diet, be warned that some of
the foods in the banquet scenes will have empty gedyrems grumbling
loudly. And lastly, gentlemen, be ready for your ladies to look at the jewelry
and begin pestering you for one just like it!
Till next month, Gang!