Marie Antoinette, the Movie

Don’t waste your time.

Marie AntoinetteOn Saturday, after a long day on my feet as a volunteer for the Land of the Sun Endurance Ride here in Wickenburg, I found myself in front of the television. I flipped to one of the movie channels just as Marie Antoinette was beginning and decided to give it a try.

I like movies with historical value. I feel as if I can learn while being entertained. And I don’t think anyone can argue that the costumes and sets in the movie were magnificent and probably true to life.

Unfortunately, that’s where the movie’s appeal to me ended.

The movie is long and rambling and takes forever to make and complete a point. For example, the movie suggests that Marie and Louis did not consummate their marriage for more than 4 years — until after he became King, in fact. While this might be an interesting point, it dominated the plot for at least 45 minutes of the movie. One soon gets tired of seeing Marie in bed alone as the signal to viewers that she went yet another night without getting any.

Throughout the movie, I kept waiting to see when the political unrest of the people would make itself known to Marie or the ill-fated members of the French nobility. Is it possible that these people really had no clue about what was going on outside their palaces?

A serious problem with the movie was its soundtrack. While the director and composer are true to the time with the classical music played during Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette’s wedding dance, for example, the rest of the movie is a mix of classical and what I can only describe as European pop. Watching dancers at an 18th century masked ball, wearing period costumes and dancing period dances while modern pop music blared was weird, to say the least. It also took away from the seriousness of the movie, making it seem as if the Director was making light of the whole thing. The soundtrack was inappropriate for the subject matter.

I can’t comment on the acting because although the characters were somewhat believable, I don’t think any of the actors were outstanding. There was very little dialog. One cornball scene shows Marie, fully attired in one of her beautiful dresses, stretched out in happiness in a field of grass and flowers. It’s the scene right after she’s finally had sex with her husband. She’s happy. Oddly enough, it reminded me of the scene in Caddyshack where the girlfriend (Maggie) is dancing on the golf course at night because she knows she’s not pregnant.

While the director, Sofia Coppola, may have wanted to paint a more human picture of Marie, she certainly didn’t do much to create audience sympathy for her character. Coppola’s Marie was a party girl who ate and drank and shopped and played almost non-stop. History tells us that the people of France were being taxed to the point of starvation in many cases, yet the French nobility were living it up in sheltered isolation. Yet no where in the movie — at least not up to the point where I gave up on it after 90 minutes of boredom — is any of that shown. It’s a truly one-sided view of that time in history, a view through the eyes of an immature and spoiled woman.

I admit that I didn’t see the end. Mike joined me about halfway through and he’d already seen it. At one point, I asked him if anything interesting happens. He said no, just more of the same until the screen goes black. I’d seen enough, so I turned it off.

What got me to watch it at all was the rating in the Dish Network info box: three out of four stars. If I’d rated it, it probably would have gotten 1-1/2 stars.

What do you think?