Reviewing the Reviews: 'Marie Antoinette'
Okay, we all know Marie Antoinette is pretty. Real pretty. But that seems to be where the consensus ends on Sofia Coppola’s new film starring Kirsten Dunst (pictured) and Jason Schwartzman.
Some critics, like The Chicago Tribune‘s Jessica Reaves, buy what Coppola’s selling: “As in her first two films, Coppola digs deeply here into the suffering brought on by claustrophobia and intense loneliness…. Here, its target is an adolescent queen, trapped in a gilded, poisonous cage. From the movie’s first frame to its final, devastating moments, Coppola’s direction brings to life a gauzy world marred only occasionally by serious concerns, a world marked by utter innocence, supreme ignorance, or some combination of the two.”
Other critics, not so much: “There are long sequences with no dialogue, only occasional disembodied voice-over comments from courtiers,” says USA Today‘s Claudia Puig. “When the main characters do speak, they say hackneyed things, such as, ‘He amuses her, and she likes to be amused.’ So do we. And we’re not.”
addCredit(“Marie Antoinette: Leigh Johnson”)
As for casting, Schwartzman, as Marie’s sexually-impaired husband, is garnering some interesting comparisons: “With the hairy, powdered-wig Mr. Schwartzman playing Louis XVI like Elmer Fudd in drag, it’s no wonder Marie escapes to the bed of an oversexed Swedish count and a country farm where even the rutting pigs remind her what she’s been missing,” offers The New York Observer‘s Rex Reed. In Jason’s defense, Stella Papamichael of the BBC found him “especially funny.”
Dunst, meanwhile, is receiving raves from EW‘s own Lisa Schwarzbaum: “With her winning touch of girlfriend-of-Spider-Man resilience and the easy, modern way she wears her formidable ball gowns, Dunst embodies the teen girl of today and of more than 200 years ago. And in returning to the star of her first feature, The Virgin Suicides, as muse, the filmmaker wisely lets Dunst set the movie’s tone of voluptuous lostness.” That’s cool, Lisa, but all you really had to say about the film’s cast to get me to a theater is the following: Rip Torn plays Louis XV. Thanks to Stephen Whitty of Newark’s Star-Ledger for the heads-up.