Let them eat cake: Marie Antionette Review


No, the Queen of France never actually uttered those words, but it was such scandal and speculation that ultimately aided in her death and the fall of the French monarchy in the 18th Century.

Sofia Coppola’s adaptation of the story aims to update the historical tale with punk music, a royal heiress with a cheerleader accent, and (questionably) Converse sneakers- perhaps an allusion to her transformation from a simple Austrian princess to an extravagant, over-indulgent European Queen. The success of Marie Antionette lies in the lavish spreads of oppulence, detailed shots of fine costume, food, sexual encounters, and the extremes of an oblivious aristocratical society. All well and good, but after the first hour, one had to wonder how long this description would continue. What the movie lacked was the growing sense of urgency that the Queen, upon maturing in her royal status, began to display to the people and her court. The film also failed to show Marie Antionette’s growing participation in the political direction of the French monarchy. Missing is her highly noted (and disdained) influence on Louis XVI’s decision-making.

Instead, all we see is a frivolous teenager, who spends most of her days shopping, eating, gossiping, and partying. Only towards the end of the movie, do we see the Queen’s loyalty to her king, vowing to stay at Versailles until the bitter end. But even then, her role is limited, playing more the part of loyal wife that influential political force. Because of this, the Queen never grows up, and in a sense remains a child; and thus the movie does the same, displaying the beginnings of something great, but never quite flourishing to it’s truly monumental state.
Tatiana

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2 Comments

  1. you know marie antoinette didn’t actually say that, right? it was incorrectly attributed to her…

  2. Yes. That is why–in the very first sentence– I write “No, the Queen of France never actually uttered those words,”. I’m glad you’re up on your history!
    Tatiana

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