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Overall Rating
3.01

Awesome: 12.86%
Worth A Look: 18.57%
Just Average40%
Pretty Crappy: 14.29%
Sucks: 14.29%

6 reviews, 34 user ratings


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Marie Antoinette
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by brianorndorf

"The biggest disappointment of the year"
3 stars

Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette” is a bit of a heartbreaker. There’s no argument from me that the film is gorgeously detailed, with the production setting the perfect mood of Versailles and the era. However, Coppola doesn’t go far enough with her bigger artistic leaps, and this film could use all the creative juice it can find.

After having two virtually perfect motion pictures under her belt (“The Virgin Suicides,” “Lost in Translation”), it seemed certain that one day writer/director Sofia Coppola would find material that didn’t bring out the best in her. “Marie Antoinette” isn’t that film, but it’s close enough to make you feel both triumphant and queasy while watching it.

History buffs would be best advised to not go anywhere in the vicinity of this film, for this very unorthodox telling of Antoinette’s (Kirsten Dunst) years at Versailles is so light in historical perspective it almost floats to the ceiling.

“Antoinette” is separated into three sections: the first is the marriage of the teenaged Austrian Antoinette to the prince (and future king) Louis XVI (Jason Schwartzman), and her induction into the French way of life at the palatial grounds of Versailles. For this 40-minute act, Coppola plays the story perfectly straight, pursuing the overwhelming feelings of isolation and confusion the young princess felt as she was ripped from her life and thrown into a sexless and socially icy marriage to help ease tensions in Europe.

The second act is where things loosen up considerably. Now at peace with the attention and groveling she receives in her daily life, Antoinette begins to enjoy herself, and takes full advantage of the money and privilege being a queen affords her. Attending party after party, getting drunk on champagne, eating to her heart’s content, and becoming a full time player in the wicked gossip games of the kingdom, Antoinette combats her loneliness and the demands of her family with her descent into gluttony, and the film receives something akin to a sugar rush of creativity.

In a very Coppolaesque move, the director introduces the sounds of 80s New Wave into the film, using hits by Bow Wow Wow, New Order, The Cure, and Adam Ant to spice up the nightlife of a heavily rouged teen party queen. This stroke of genius is the antidote to the intentionally meandering quality of the screenplay; it’s like a burst of lightning, and adds needed clarity and pop-fizz to the movie. It’s to Coppola’s credit that it doesn’t come off as the silliest idea in the history of the universe. The music is truthful to Antoinette’s decadent surroundings and inner-monologue, while also adding a needed audience participatory dimension to the austere playgrounds of the era.

But there’s simply not enough of it. Unfortunately, Coppola doesn’t have the guts to use this style of music in a wall-to-wall fashion during the picture, and only whips it out sporadically to suit a specific mood. Perhaps if the filmmaker would’ve gone to town turning Antoinette’s story into a 1982 paneled-basement dance party, the creative juice would've extended to the rest of the tale. While “Antoinette” is gushing with insane period minutiae and is wallpapered with sweets of all shapes, sizes, and colors, the material is lacking that important sensation of life rushing through its veins.

For the final section of the story, Antoinette is trapped in her glacial existence, takes a lover, and is soon facing down a furious French nation who will settle for nothing less than her death. While powdered and aimless to start with, Coppola tries to sober up her movie quickly here, uncovering the pain of Antoinette as she came to her senses and started to mature into a proper, but still spoiled, queen.

It’s evident that Coppola is going for a completely surface experience to her Antoinette tale, and that’s just fine. This picture is gorgeous six ways to Sunday, and the sugared effort of the production can be eye-opening at times. Appreciating Coppola’s vision is another story. The film ends not with a beheading, but with a good bye, and invites a very important question: is that all there is to Marie? To Sofia Coppola, I guess the answer is yes.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15265&reviewer=404
originally posted: 10/20/06 02:36:09
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User Comments

5/21/14 Joe Smaltz Dreary, drab, boreing, tedious, a poor girl in an arranged marrige with a gay guy.. 1 stars
3/07/11 brian It's like the Moulin Rouge redux without the humor. Unconventionality is not enough. 3 stars
6/12/10 art a geat big COSTUME PARTY! 1 stars
3/16/09 :/ bleh not that good. 2 stars
1/07/09 Mariah disappointing, i thought it was going to be way better. but kirsten dunst did a great job. 2 stars
9/25/08 Annie G Amazing costumes, but I couldn’t figure out why else anyone would watch! 2 stars
9/06/08 PAUL SHORTT THE FEAST, HOWEVER SUMPTUOUS, SHOULD HAVE HAD MORE THAN JUST CAKE 1 stars
5/29/08 Matt Inappropriate music and a story which suddenly ends when in truth it is far from over. 3 stars
5/15/08 Karrie Millheim Good protrayl of Marie Antoinette, the only problem was the ending was stupid 4 stars
5/09/08 doug great movie, bad ending. left me with tons of questions 4 stars
4/01/08 superfriek OMG, this movie rocks 4 stars
6/11/07 kiara best movie sooooo good and the costumes and food look sooooo good 5 stars
5/22/07 Corky like spending two hours eating dry white bread 1 stars
5/08/07 David Pollastrini Kirsten Dunst is hot in this! 3 stars
4/23/07 fools♫gold Too OLD to reign; Sofia Coppola's Great Work twice accomplished. 5 stars
4/22/07 djacosta Embarassing piece of shit 1 stars
3/30/07 chris. hey look! they partied just like we party! 3 stars
2/27/07 Beau Good portrayal and cast! great directing from 'copola' and performance from 'kirsten dunst' 3 stars
1/23/07 Antoinette Forbes I think this Movie was very said 5 stars
1/11/07 Richard Brandt The most interesting part was Louis' ruinous investment in a foreign war... 3 stars
1/03/07 jazzman Poor try on remaking a modern Amadeus...What an ending!!! 1 stars
12/12/06 jdean62 Acting was great ...but it put me to sleep !!! I was disappointed... 3 stars
12/12/06 William Goss Looks great, but any novelty wears off within an hour, with dry costume drama persisting. 3 stars
11/10/06 Louise A sumptuous feast for the eyes, tinged with the frustration felt by the young queen. 4 stars
11/05/06 Aaron tranquilizing take on most exttravagant period in history 1 stars
10/30/06 justine not a hip adaptation as it's peddled to be but a tragic bore. 1 stars
10/30/06 mac its was great love it ! it could have been better 4 stars
10/28/06 anni it sux 1 stars
10/26/06 ken Glittering, gaudy, profoundly feminine, rather gayish, frevolous and completely pointless ! 2 stars
10/24/06 Misha Definitely not a history lesson, visually stunning, conveys period excesses very well 4 stars
10/23/06 Stacy Like L.I.T., this would be better if it utilized some sort of narrorator. I liked it, tho'. 3 stars
10/22/06 Lauren Different and bold, and for this alone it is difficult film to dismiss. Worth seeing. 4 stars
10/21/06 Riki As meandering as Lost in Translation, if you like that sort of thing 3 stars
10/20/06 Pritchett Sofia Coppola is as good a director as she is an actress. 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  20-Oct-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 13-Feb-2007

UK
  20-Oct-2006

Australia
  26-Dec-2006


Directed by
  Sofia Coppola

Written by
  Sofia Coppola

Cast
  Kirsten Dunst
  Jason Schwartzman
  Judy Davis
  Rip Torn
  Rose Byrne
  Asia Argento



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