Directed by Sofia Coppolla.
Written by Sofia Coppolla.
Starring Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Steve Coogan and Rip
Release Year: 2006
Review Date: 10/19/06
Tonight's freebies were "The Prestige"--the
OTHER magician film, by Christopher Nolan ("Memento")--or "Marie
Antoinette", and as usual, I picked the one playing closest to my
house...and, I'm glad that I picked that way, because I think I won
"Marie Antoinette"--the one playing just up
the road--is the new film by Sofia Coppolla, who has
"The Virgin Suicides" and
Translation" under her belt; it should be noted that I didn't
love either one of those films and "Marie Antoinette" went the same
way for me. Although I was fighting off sleep at times during
this film, I got the sense that others in my theater (HEAVY
female-concentrated audience) liked the film a bit more than I did;
they laughed a few more times than I did and generally thought the
film was cute.
I didn't, and I think part of that is the
Sofia Coppolla style of filmmaking--part lullaby, part mood piece,
part experimental. During "Marie Antoinette", we get Kirsten
Dunst as Marie, a child of 1760s Austrian royalty who is married
into French royalty, specifically Louis XVI (that's sixteenth,
right?), played by Jason Schwartzman, who has done this character in
every film he's ever done, but with a different costume. The
film covers their time together through rioting in Versailles thanks
to unhappy townspeople who are wondering why they are all so poor
all of a sudden.
But, what is in-between will either work for
you, or not; mixing a modern-day rock soundtrack with very
old-school costume design drama, somewhat modern dialogue and the
complete abandonment of attempted accents, Coppolla gives us Marie
as spoiled but longing modern-day 20-something bourgeoisie. We
mostly are left to watch Marie react to the silly nature of being
the queen of any country anywhere; she is stunned by the number--and
the pecking order--of her hand maidens; she is obsessed with going
to see the opera when her husband seems perfectly happy eating big
meals at home; the large posse that hangs out at the Versailles
mansions are all dressed up with nowhere to go. At times, this
really is amusing, but the film's strongest asset is certainly its
production design, which looks lavish, and its costumes, which Marie
runs through in quick succession over the course of its two-hour
But, ugh, the film is so boring at times!
Whereas I saw it as boring, I could tell that some of our audience
members loved watching Marie obsess over her dog, her shoes, her
hair, her costumes, her eventual children. But, not I.
The soundtrack does work well; watching Marie run to a window, look
out at a tree, and smile fifteen times in one movie did not work
well. Watching the couple fret over their requisite sex life
is amusing at first, but by the fourth scene...well, you get the
picture. Again, this might work for some people, and in fact,
from talking to my buddy Ross after I watched "Marie Antoinette", my
guess is that if you loved "Lost in Translation" and "The Virgin
Suicides", I think you will LIKE this new film, which isn't as good
as her most recent Bill Murray/Scarlet Johansson effort.
I'm glad I saw this, because the trailer was
intriguing...again, after I saw it, I'm glad I saw it for free.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard