Credit: Leigh Johnson

While director Sofia Coppola’s lavish soufflé of a film undoubtedly lacks historical and political gravitas, her depiction of France’s most infamous queen largely — and stylishly — fulfills her stated goal: to capture life in 18th-century Versailles from a young, lonely foreigner’s point of view, with a modern (read: intentionally anachronistic) twist. From the gloriously kaleidoscopic masked costume ball to fetishistic close-ups of the royal court’s ribbon-festooned Manolos, Marie Antoinette oozes visual luxury and lovingly swathes star Kirsten Dunst in a pastel ”cookies and cake” palette; as Coppola sheepishly admits, she created ”the girliest film set I’ve seen.”

Coppola’s enablers in satin include multiple members of her famous filmmaking family, as captured in the extras. In addition to playing the paunchy, socially awkward sovereign Louis XVI, Coppola’s cousin Jason Schwartzman hosts a clever, if brief, MTV Cribs-style tour of their Versailles (”A home is not complete without cherubs”) shot by her older brother Roman. Mother Eleanor helmed the making-of, which prominently features proud papa/exec producer Francis and shares insider info (e.g., Adam Ant was the style inspiration for Jamie Dornan’s Count Fersen). The film’s overwhelming ratio of fashion and opera consultants to historians, however, speaks to its underlying flaw: A gal can be subjected to only so much style over substance. B+

Marie Antoinette (Movie - 2006)
  • Movie
  • 123 minutes
  • Sofia Coppola