With her version of this famous story, writer and director Sophia Coppola seems to have focused more on the feeling and circumstance, perhaps, than any necessity for bare-bones fact. Anyone familiar with Coppola’s work won’t be surprised by the sheer beauty of the cinematography. As in her other films (Lost In Translation
The time period in which this film is set offers so much for a director like Sophia Coppola. She does wonders with bridging the historic story to modern viewers. Much of this translation comes in the form of music. Always an important part of a film, particularly for young filmmakers it seems (the soundtracks of
Jason Schwartzman is a perfectly awkward—and plump—Louis the XVI. He does an amazing job of bringing his character full circle, taking Louis from frustratingly nervous boy to an even likable young man, whom one could actually believe to have the makings of a king. Kirsten Dunst does not disappoint as the 14-year-old Austrian Archduchess turned Queen of France. Like Schwartzman, she too captures the quick flip in character Marie and Louis are forced to make. But what stood out most, for me at least, was that despite all the growing up she had to do, and so quickly, Dunst’s Marie Antoinette never lost her open and innocent, child-like heart. The performance which took me most by surprise came from British comedian Steve Coogan as Ambassador Mercy. The role was not huge, necessarily, but Coogan’s character set the tone of the story in a way—his title saying it all, I guess—acting as mediator and guide for the young gap-bridging Marie.
The one hang up for me was the rather abrupt ending. Albeit, understandably abrupt I guess—I mean, the film couldn’t really be much longer. I think, like a lot of movie watchers, I just like closure, and that’s not really something you get from this film (not that seeing heads roll would have done it for me either). On the upside though, instead of leaving the theatre with the memory of a riveting ending.