Marie Antoinette Reviews
'Marie Antoinette' is an extravagant venture just as its protagonist, expectedly following a box-office and critical success - 'Lost in Translation'. With no compromises in the costumes, the background locales, the rich interiors or the talented cast, Coppola is armed to present her stylish vision to narrate the story of an equally if not more stylish Austrian-born French Queen Marie Antoinette, aptly casted and brilliantly portrayed by Kirsten Dunst.
The story starts with Marie Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst) being shipped off to France for an engagement with Louis-Auguste (Jason Schwartzman) who is a heir to the throne and eventually becomes Louis XVI. Being a stranger in a faraway land, Marie initially struggles to get accustomed to the traditions, pressure to conceive and being looked as an enemy/spy by some subjects due to on-going tensions between France and Austria. Once settled and with growing number of acquaintances, she embraces the fashion and party scene of Versailles and gets carried away with it. Her public display of extravagance and the diminishing coffers makes her a soft target by the hungry public during the midst of the French Revolution.
Where Coppola succeeded in visual presentation of style and extravagance, she failed miserably in conveying the biography as it should have been. Intentionally or not, the major political events of Marie Antoinette has been conveniently replaced with more party scenes and display of elegant costumes which after a point gets repetitive in a biography especially. Since the story deals with the majority of Marie's lifespan and not just a segment in her life, it was important for Coppola to have included more of her protagonist's political choices into the narrative. Another interesting observation is that the movie never shows common public until the final revolution occurs, which is intelligent - as it makes the audience realize even harder by suddenly seeing soiled hungry people after repetitive partying and costumes and richness.
Kirsten Dunst has fit the role like a glove exuding confidence, charisma and mischievousness necessary for the role and her presence is a major factor into making this movie watchable. Jason Schwartzman has a limited screen-time but does a decent job as the shy confused introvert. There are a number of other actors whose roles are partially developed like that of Duchesse de Polignac by Rose Byrne or Count Axel Fersen by Jamie Dornan and they seem to come and go without making any impact. Coppola is famous for her soundtracks and it was very bold even for her to come up with a contemporary soundtrack for an early modern period drama, but it does sound good with its slick editing and presentation. There are many movies with style over substance, Coppola (after Tarantino) seems to have made it her own with necessary skill-set and creativity to execute it to perfectness.
Stylish and extravagant like the protagonist, but it barely holds the ground with such little substance.