a short take by Tony McRae

Imagine a 14 year-old being sent off to France by her imperious mother Maria Therese, the Archduchess of Austria, to marry the eldest son of Louis XV.  Director Sophia Coppola shows France ’s most famous—and misunderstood—queen Marie Antoinette in a new light.  We all know her story: a queen at nineteen, her famous beauty, her many talents, her supposed insouciance to the starving French people (“Let then eat cake,” the most famous of her remarks), her beheading during the Reign of Terror. Rather than the historic figure, Coppola lets us see a young girl, an innocent in many ways, whose sole responsibility is to produce a male heir to the throne of France .  Nothing else matters.  

Coppola—and Kirsten Dunce—make us feel for this woman who despite the odds develops into a fully-rounded wife and mother that we come to care for.  

Coppola was given permission by the French government to film at Versailles which is an important character in the film since most of Marie Antoinette’s life was spent there.  

This is a slow-paced movie, perhaps not for everyone.  But its sumptuous palette,  impeccable pacing and contemporary music, all kept me glued to the screen.  Don’t wait for the DVD.  This should be seen on the big screen. PG13