Belated Film Review: Sofia Coppola’s ‘Marie Antoinette’

Kirsten Dunst - Marie Antoinette Poster - 2006

by Kolby Solinsky

Editor, White Cover Magazine

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It would be easy to write Marie Antoinette off as bubble gum filth. Because, well, it is. Even the poster looked like some kind of shi*ty soda art you’d see on a printed-out advertisement for an indie band in Los Angeles.

It looked like Sofia Coppola was trying to mix the former French monarchy with the opening scenes of Drive.

And, you know what? It’s a hell of a lot of fun.

Marie Antoinette is not a historical bastion. It almost requires a professorial revolt, not unlike the Revolution that made its title character notable and still relevant. Like every film that revolves around the always-familiar theme of “I’m Rich and the Poor Don’t Like Me” (think the 2012 U.S. election), Marie Antoinette doesn’t go too far out of its way to impress.

But, if you’re in the right frame of mind — if you’re ready to like it — you’ll enjoy yourself tremendously.

It’s about Kirsten Dunst getting hers (in a good way) and then getting hers (in a terrible way).

It’s about excess and time, and how both are so fragile. Sure, Antoinette and her pint-sized king (played hilariously by Louis XVI) lived off the backs of the French populace, but which king and queen didn’t? Can you seriously pretend that any member of any royalty in every country of Europe didn’t do the same?

The good ones were only pretending. The bad ones had unfortunate timing.

Kind of like Dunst. She peaked with Spiderman — and Small Soldiers, right? — and rode that wave into a series of films like Antoinette. It’s cool. It’s fashionable. It’s perfectly counter-university.

And, it’s supposed to be.

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*NOTE: Give Coppola credit for not showing the beheading. It’s too easy. It’s too simple. She ends with the King and Queen being dragged out of their palace at Versailles. We see them smile at each other and look at their endless lawns. We see on final still shot of their bedroom smashed to pieces. We see the burning pitchforks outside.

We know what happens. It’s more powerful when we’re not obviously reminded.

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