The film Marie Antoinette (2006) by Sofia Coppola is a real jewel and it sure is one of my favorites. On a historical level it might makes no sense at all, but it is an absolute feast for the eyes.
Marie Antoinette was an Austrian princess who lived in the eighteenth century and was just fifteen years of age when she had to marry the royal heir to the throne of France. You may know her from her famous quote “Let them eat cake”, something she allegedly has said as a response to the starving french people. However, two hundred years later we can almost for certain state that she has never really uttered that sentence at all and that it was just a matter of successful propaganda by the revolutionaries. And that is exactly what Sofia has wanted to avoid in this film. This film therefore shows the situation entirely from Marie’s point of view. She shows us how difficult it must have been for a 15 year old to move to another country, with totally different costums and the entire royal court watching your every move. How hard it must have been for Marie to have that pressure to produce an heir and endure all the gossip and slander. And of course she shows us the delicious world in which Marie flees from her sorrows, by buying shoes and clothes and wigs and hosting crazy parties over at the palace.
It all sounds a bit harsh and depressing, however, this film generally has a very positive vibe to it. It’s almost impossible not to, with such a delicious color palette (pastel!), such a creative director, cool soundtrack and beautiful images. Almost 90% of this movie is perfect bliss. Only when the story gets sad, the film is shrouded in black and the pastel is suddenly gone. Sofia has chosen not to depict the brutal death which bestows on Marie. Instead we see Marie and her family being driven away from Versailles in her carriage, the same way she entered it in the beginning of the film. Although not as dark as her actual ending, it is still a bitter pill to swallow after all the pastel bliss. And that real bittersweet feeling is what makes it a true Sofia film.
Soundtrack (this mix is not made by me):
You can click here for the trailer.