Sofia Coppola’s take on ill-fated French royalty is neither as vapid as you’ve heard, nor the misunderstood gem you might hope for.
Kirsten Dunst generates sympathy for the sheltered, lost young queen and, like the film in general, looks both gorgeous and melancholy. But even with Coppola dispensing with proper accents and piping in some occasional 20th-century pop music, Marie Antoinette still feels more like a dull period movie with her moody touch, rather than a true re-imagining of the sub-genre. I appreciate what she’s trying to do, and wish she did more.
A Dunst-Coppola commentary could’ve struck a fascinating dynamic, but it’s not present on the semi-sparse DVD release. The requisite making-of is appealingly casual, with plenty of onset footage, including multiple takes of a “let them eat cake” moment that appears in neither the film nor the two short deleted scenes included here. The oddest and most interesting extra is a parody of MTV’s Cribs, with Jason Schwartzman’s Louis XVI taking us through Versailles palace, going on about his French “peeps” — more boldly anachronistic than the occasional postmodern dabs in the actual film.
Separated from the hype-backlash cycle, it’s a worthy curiosity.