Sean and I are still in France and in fact should be touring around the beautiful grounds and palace at Versailles right now, so what movie is more fitting that Marie Antoinette?
She was a bright and beautiful girl, married at the age of 14 to a political ally she’d never seen before. She is traded from one kingdom to another. She is surrounded by servants and comforts of every kind; she has jewelry and clothes and feasts like no other. She also has no grip on reality. And this movie doesn’t criticize her for it. Sofia Coppola may have strayed from historical accuracy in the writing and directing of this film, but she does give us a more human character to relate to. Marie-Antoinette is above all just a teenage girl, used to a lavish lifestyle, uncomprehending of any other.
The production had special permission from the government of France to film on location at Versailles. Even more impressive (to my mind), Coppola even induced famed designer Manolo Blahnik to create hundreds of shoes for this film. Fittingly, there is a shoe montage, which will make you squeal with delight, and if you watch carefully, you might catch a 1.5 second shot of a pair of Chuck Taylor Converse, not exactly time-period correct, but a staple of any teenage girl’s closet.
Did you know Jason Schwartzman is Sofia Coppola’s cousin? I didn’t. I get my Hollywood royalty mixed up just as assuredly as I get my regular royalty confused I guess. At any rate, he plays the king to Kirsten Dunst’s queen, and I have to admire the casting. Who but him could play such a socially inept little weirdo, and who is more inherently hated than Dunst?
I saw this originally back in 2006 when it came out (I’m kind of surprised it’s not older than that) but in the 8 or 9 years since, I’ve become more familiar with some of the other names of the cast: Rose Byrne (broke out in Bridesmaids), Tom Hardy (aka, Bane, and almost Mad Max), and Jamie Dornan (soon to be the pervy guy in Fifty Shades of Grey). Coppola otherwise cast a lot of progeny of movie stars, most of whom I don’t know (although I did see a Nighy and wondered, and was correct in wondering). Plus she threw a bone to her boyfriend, Thomas Mars, from the band Phoenix – he and a bandmate play guitars in one scene, although they can’t have been happy about the tights.