Friday, March 23, 2007

Quick Movie Review: Marie Antoinette

I really don't know what the reception of this in the States was, and I know I'm a little behind, (many movies arrive here later than in the States), so there will be a couple of these coming in the near future.

1. I know this was based on Antonia Fraser's book, but I don't know what Sofia Coppola was trying to do. a) If this was a movie that was supposed to make us feel mad about the French monarchy, well, it was so far removed beyond any general contextualization of society beyond passing mentions of angry mobs and expensive wars, it failed. b) If this was a movie that was supposed to make us feel sorry for Marie Antoinette, well, the acting (outside of Dunst) was so generally wooden that there was virtually no character development, and so it failed. c) If this was a movie that was simply supposed to complicate things, well, still - no character development. It failed. d) If this was supposed to portray Marie Antoinette as a strong feminist figure, than the whole "stand by my man" thing at the end completely undid that, and it failed. 3) If it was just supposed to damn the excesses of the French monarchy specifically, and monarchies more broadly, well, it was also so celebratory and (failingly) attempted to humanize such excesses that it failed. f) If it was supposed to be a "cutting-edge" "re-interpretation" of the Versailles era France, with music by New Order, Joy Division, and Aphex Twin, well, the vision was (if you'll pardon the pun), lost in translation. g) If this was a movie that was supposed to be generally boring, just showing pretty rooms of Versailles and people in old-timey clothes, well, it succeeded.

2. It's amazing what an at-best mediocre (and at times plain bad) script can do to an already mediocre film. Only Kirsten Dunst came out looking even half good as an actress with her lines, and even then, she only barely salvaged some of what were otherwise generally asinine and even downright stupid scenes of dialogue.

3. Such clumsy as showing Kirsten Dunst (finally) getting laid by Louix XVI, cutting to her falling in a green field with an ecstatic look on her face for one second, and cutting to her giving birth, is just plain clumsy and stupid. Ditto the treatment of her fantasization of the Swedish officer on his horse, with giant balls of fire exploding behind him and corpses from battle in front of him.

4. Sofia Coppola is overrated.