When it comes to historical dramas I’m usually a little cautious, as I wonder how close to the truth a film will be… could be. But with this film, any political or world history we witness in this are the big well known moments, especially with what was happening with France, England and America at that moment in time. All of which feels very minimal in this story.
Focusing mainly on the relationship with Marie Antoinette (Kristen Dunst) Louis XVI (Jason Schwartzman) and many of the French royal family and those who served them. Placing pressure on Marie at a young age and her place in the family; the responsibility she has when it comes to the French and Austrian relationship. I feel this film was misunderstood when it came out in 2006. Maybe historians were hoping for something beyond the relationship between the royal family. More than we see at least. The general audience not sure how to approach such a film, some maybe not knowing the period in history and feeling unable to watch this with any way of understanding the importance of where it fits in, where the world was at that time in which this was set.
But this film does not try to outsmart the audience with facts and figures of every single event which happened… it focuses on the drama of a woman who is thrown into a situation which she did not ask for, at a young age with the pressures of those who supposedly knew better. Marie trying to bring the two families together, pushed by her mother threw letters while her husband Louis finds interest in other things such as his fascination with locks.
This is a much better film than it is given credit for and I feel that it is one which has aged well… the attraction of no longer being a new film has given it time to breath and be something telling of a women who was perceived one way, while actually being something else in her private moments of a royal figure; In a time when such people were expected to be more than the everyday person.
This is one of those films which sink in a little more with each viewing, if you are unsure on first seeing this, take a chance and give it a second or third look; this is such a situation where we do not need to watch something once in a quick and undetected way. Sofia Coppola’s style is one which I’ve come to find to be one which people love or… come close to hating. For me, the tone and atmosphere is something of a slower telling of a story, a deeper look at the subject matter than may be expected, something which I’ve always liked about her films.