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Sofia Coppola: A Name of Her Own “Marie Antoinette” (2006) ★★★★


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Sofia Coppola is an interesting filmmaker. With a sharp feminine eye, she manages to capture any story she tells from a female point of view. Her films “The Beguiled”, “The Virgin Suicides” or “Lost in Translation” serve as bright examples of that. As for “Marie Antoinette”, the director uses her photography skills and love for colors to shape the personality of the historic individual, her emotional struggle and her reasons for doing what she needed to which, eventually, changed her life forever. We see Marie Antoinette’s short life through Coppola’s eyes and realize how often people like her are misunderstood. A second chance was an unaffordable privilege, and even the Queen was denied such an honor.

“Marie Antoinette” follows the title character. We learn about her priorities in life and how she takes thing easily. She’s unable to produce an heir to the throne due to her husband’s lack of passion in bed. Realizing that she may lose her position and respect in the Kingdom, Marie Antoinette starts exercising he feminine charm in order to attract her husband somehow. But before he even notices that she exists, a young queen will have a long road ahead of her with ups and downs, until she falls downhill due the mistakes made in between…

Louis XVI, thanks to Jason Schwartzman’s convincing performance, appears to be an inexperienced young man who, at first, is not fond of Marie. Every time when she wakes up, she finds herself alone in the bed she is supposed to share with her husband – the future King. Despite her countless attempts, Louis is too shy and hesitates every time Marie offers herself to him as his wife. Whether it is historically accurate or not, Marie begins a new life, with endless parties and gambling.

It is clear that her lifestyle and preferences are too different from what Louis imagines. And by the time she finally manages to inspire him sexually to produce their first child, Marie has already emerged into the dangerous, and even, life-threatening lifestyle, that eventually, will backfire at her. As we follow Marie’s journey, we grow with her as well – turning from an immature human being into a respectable woman with strong values. However, it will be too late, as the time will come for her to pay all the debt she owed to the nation.

I’d like to bring your attention to the production of the film – the cinematography and splendid costumes that well delivered the tone of the past through the silver screen. The colors and even charismatic soundtrack find its perfect match to fit into every scene. The stellar cast – the unbelievably talented actors, along with Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Steve Coogan and Rose Byrne bring us closer to Marie Antoinette so that we can understand her better and never judge.

In conclusion, Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette” is an emotional portrayal of a struggling individual. Her character sometimes makes Louis VI look so insignificant due to the lack of experience in personal life. Many might argue whether certain events ever took a place or not. However, as I am not a historian nor pretending being one, I have enjoyed watching this movie from a different angle. And thanks to that, the film leaves a positive impression. It has an impressive directorial approach and also treats in a very delicate way the story of the woman whose life is portrayed so beautifully in Coppola’s piece.

 

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