Marie Antoinette

Kirsten Dunst is incapable of being much of anything aside from Kirsten Dunst. That being said, I actually enjoyed Marie Antoinette much more than I expected to and Dunst is the crux on which the whole movie hinges. She was a rather good choice for Sofia Coppola's vision of a teenager thrown into the extravagent and absurd world of Versailles. The movie opens with the song "Natural's Not In It" by the Gang of Four and its first lines are "The problem of leisure / What to do for pleasure." Dunst's soulful stare and bubbly laugh carry us through a story where finding pleasure is the chief concern... and somehow one feels a great amount of sympathy for this girl that would be queen. She's stripped of her clothing and pug as she enters a treacherous world where she is all alone. Her shy boy-husband would rather hunt and play with locks than perform his "duty" and save her from courtly embarassment. Accusations of MA being barren wear on her as their marriage goes unconsummated for seven years. To cope, she turns towards other pleasures... desserts, shoes, dresses. After Louis finally figures out how things work (after MA's brother explains things to him), MA has a child. She takes a lover, reads Rousseau, plays at being a shepardess, and somehow it's not quite as ridiculous as one remembers from history books. Coppola makes it all poignant in light of the ending that we all know. She doesn't even take us to the guillotine, but rather, Coppola ends the film with MA saying goodbye to Versailles and the life she has known.

Read the A.O. Scott review and put it in your Netflix queue because I definitely saw this at the tail-end of its in-theaters run.

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