Farewell, My Queen (2012)

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Farewell, My Queen marks the return of acclaimed director Benoît Jacquot and brilliantly captures the passions, debauchery, occasional glimpses of nobility and ultimately the chaos that engulfed the court of Marie Antoinette in the final days before the full-scale outbreak of the Revolution. Based on the best-selling novel by Chantal Thomas, the film stars Léa Seydoux as one of Marie's ladies-in-waiting, seemingly an innocent but quietly working her way into her mistress's special favors, until history tosses her fate onto a decidedly different path. With the action moving effortlessly from the gilded drawing rooms of the nobles to the back quarters of those who serve them, this is a period film at once accurate and sumptuous in its visual details and modern in its emotions. -- (C) Cohen
Rating:
R (for brief graphic nudity and language)
Genre:
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 limited
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

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Cast

Diane Kruger
as Marie Antoinette
Léa Seydoux
as Sidonie Laborde
Virginie Ledoyen
as Gabrielle de Polignac
Xavier Beauvois
as Louis XVI
Noémie Lvovsky
as Madame Campan
Michel Robin
as Jacob Nicolas Moreau
Lolita Chammah
as Louison
Dominique Reymond
as Mme. de Rochereuil
Anne Benoît
as Rose Bertin
Herve Pierre
as L'abbé Hérissé
Aladin Reibel
as Abbé Cornu de la Balivière
Jacques Nolot
as Monsieur de Jolivet
Jacques Herlin
as Marquis de la Chesnaye
Martine Chevallier
as Madame de la Tour du Pin
Jacques Boudet
as Monsieur de la Tour du Pin
Jean-Marc Stehle
as Maréchal de Broglie
Serge Renko
as Marquis de la Chesnaye
Gilles David
as Le Vicaire Moullet
Pierre Rochefort
as Valet Antonin
Rodolphe Conge
as Officier de garde Nationale
Grégory Gadebois
as Comte de Provence
Francis Leplay
as Comte d'Artois
Yves Penay
as Monsieur de Barentin
Sonia Joubert
as Augustine
Tibo
as Gustav
Pierre Berriau
as Huissier 1
Pascal Vannson
as Huissier 2
Maurice Delaistier
as Secrétaire violoniste
Emmanuelle Bougerol
as Fille de cuisine
Véronique Nordey
as Madame Tournon
Jean-Pierre Guerin
as Monsieur Janvier
Pascaline Girardot
as Doublure Madame de la Bargue
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News & Interviews for Farewell, My Queen

Critic Reviews for Farewell, My Queen

All Critics (76) | Top Critics (28)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | January 21, 2013
Miami Herald
Top Critic

Jacquot has chosen wisely in casting Léa Seydoux in the key role of Sidonie, whose luminous but watchful eyes suggest a soul wise beyond her years.

Full Review… | August 23, 2012
Toronto Star
Top Critic

"Farewell, My Queen" is a layer cake of royal pleasures, rote protocols and revolutionary politics. For skeptics who thought this story had grown stale, let them eat their words.

Full Review… | August 9, 2012
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

The details of the plot are unimportant: that is the main point made by the skillful director, Benoît Jacquot. It is the slowness with which they realize what is happening that fascinates.

Full Review… | August 8, 2012
The New Republic
Top Critic

Although it was shot at Versailles, and its actors are dressed to the 18th-century nines, Farewell, My Queen has a loose, reportorial intimacy about it.

Full Review… | August 2, 2012
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

As we follow her through the monarchy's abrupt collapse, "Farewell, My Queen" gives us intimate, unflaggingly energetic history as seen from the servants' quarters.

Full Review… | July 27, 2012
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Farewell, My Queen

½

With many inelegant zooms and clumsy camera movements, this irregular drama also fails to develop well Sidonie's devotion to the Queen, and so their trust relationship feels forced and rushed. Still, the story creates some good tension following a fictional character of uncertain fate.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

½

Similar in a way to Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. This film focuses more on the servants than the queen herself. The period details seemed more accurate. It is worth hearing the story in the French language. There is something melodic in the sound. The camera work often utilizes long uncut shots with the camera freely moving back and forth between people. It looks a bit nontraditional and while it didn't bother me, I'm not sure what it adds. I enjoyed the upstairs/downstairs nature of the drama. Lea Seydoux as Sidonie and her complicated relationship with Diane Kruger as Marie Antoinette is especially compelling. Lea plays a literate, creative, curious, and bold young woman, a character who generally needs to hide these qualities. The spoiled young queen is much more fragile and fickle than one might expect. It is about the chaos faced by those who had power, but even more so by those who served the people in power, when their way of life was crumbling around them.

Byron Brubaker
Byron Brubaker

Super Reviewer

If you are expecting a French film chronicling the last days of Marie Antoinette, then you may be in for a slight disappointment. Brilliantly directed by the Benoit Jacquot (who also co-wrote the much less impressive script) and starring Diane Kruger as Marie Antoinette and Lea Seydoux, who plays one of the Queen's readers named Sidonie Laborde, and is also the protagonist of this film (for some reason) "Farewell, My Queen" is advertised as the story of the last days of Marie Antoinette, but it's more like the somewhat muted story of the two months before the "last days" of Marie Antoinette. So, even though "Farewell, My Queen" is a better movie than Sofia Coppola's ill advised, indie rock inspired, "Marie Antoinette", due to the faux-final-days story structure, in conjunction with the fact that "Farewell, My Queen" uses Marie Antoinette as a side character, telling the story from the point of view of Sidonie Laborde (a nobody) this is a film which may have many audiences scratching their heads as to why the need to show this particular moment in the life of Marie Antoinette. As I alluded to above, "Farewell My Queen" chronicles a miniscule portion in time during the last months of Marie Antoinette's reign. However, audiences are not treated to "the good part", or the part they undoubtedly came to see. What I mean by this is there are almost no visuals of the actual Revolution, plus (and more importantly) we don't actually get to witness the final days of Marie Antoinette's life simply because "Farewell, My Queen" curiously plays out through the eyes of one of her ladies-in-waiting. Instead, audiences are forced to sit through a pseudo-love story that focuses not on the very interesting end of Marie Antoinette's reign, but on the minutiae right before it! This film is the equivalent of sitting through the love story of Jack and Rose, with the movie ending just before the Titanic strikes the iceberg. Yes, I am aware that this is a script which was adapted from a critically acclaimed novel by Chantal Thomas, BUT it still doesn't make the story's focus any less misguided. I mean, there are some scenes which do attempt to create a somewhat intriguing love story, an aspect which must be fully accredited to some fantastic mood setting by Jacquot, but in the same vein, this film never rises above said simplistic love story. Side Note: Another issue many audiences will likely come across is how frivolously "Farewell, My Queen" throws its viewers right into the deep end of this story, with little exposition. In fact, the greatest individual flaw which hinders "Farewell, My Queen" will be seen in the audiences immediate realization that neither Jacquot's visuals or the engaging performances (which I will speak about later) are going to give those not formally versed in the players of the French Revolution and the fall of Versailles, the background information they may desperately desire, as this film half-introduces more and more characters of seeming importance. So, do yourself a favor, if you are going to see "Farewell, My Queen" (at the very least) peruse the Marie Antoinette Wiki page before going to see this film. With that said, the visuals (the set design in conjunction with the director) are somewhat breathtaking at times, due to Jacquot making some very brave directorial choices, including tons of long takes which trail behind characters as they weave in and out of crowds, giving audiences an intimate feeling of the atmosphere of late 1700's France, and a few beautifully constructed shots of the landscapes. And I guess it doesn't hurt that the two female leads, Seydoux and Kruger, both give engaging performances. But even if Kruger's interpretation of Antoinette is one of the best I've ever seen and Seydoux is so captivating to watch as she effortlessly takes control of the movie every time she is on screen, there is simply not enough in the story or the writing to give reasoning to the eccentric behavior or motives behind the actions of Marie Antoinette or (more importantly) give a reason as to why Sidonie is so infatuated with her. So, even though, in the latter half of the film (more than an hour in) Jacquot does create an atmosphere which allows these characters to somewhat blossom, many will find it hard to care about a Marie Antoinette story that contains no beheadings. Final Thought: Based on a "last days" plot which attempts to imitate a much better film like "Downfall", even with some spectacular direction and two engaging female performances, "Farewell, My Queen" is nothing more than this year's "My Week With Marilyn", telling a story which focuses on characters nobody really cares about, rather than simply creating a storyline around the life/last days of (in this case) Marie Antoinette. So, even if you are a Marie Antoinette fan, with the overall structure the way it is, "Farewell, My Queen" is nothing more than DVD worthy at best. Follow me on Twitter @moviesmarkus Find more reviews at: movieswithmarkusonline.blogspot.com

Markus Robinson
Markus Robinson

Super Reviewer

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