September 23, 2010

Justify My Netflix: Marie Antoinette (2006)

(Like many Netflix customers, I too can get quite lax with the timely watching and returning of my movies, which of course defeats the entire purpose of having a flat-rate rental plan in the first place. To combat that, I am now writing standardized mini-reviews of each and every movie I end up watching through Netflix, both instantly and on DVD. Don't forget, all previous 'Justify My Netflix' reviews can be found on CCLaP's main movie page.)

Marie Antoinette

Today's movie: Marie Antoinette, 2006 (Amazon | IMDB | Netflix | Wikipedia)

Why I added it to my queue: Because this is the latest by the always interesting Sofia Coppola, and I'll watch just about anything that Sofia Coppola does.

The reality: Well, at least it was worth checking out; because even when Coppola's films ultimately fail (which I feel has happened with two out of her three movies now, this one and 1999's The Virgin Suicides), at least they're fascinating failures, noble experiments where just a few necessary things never really clicked into place. So in this case, for example, Coppola tries to weld together the 18th-century world of Marie Antoinette, the sitting queen of France during their 1789 revolution, with the life of contemporary overblown media star Paris Hilton, choosing to highlight the surprising amount of similarities the two actually share (famous for being famous, internationally known by their late teens, passionate collectors of tiny dogs and shiny expensive baubles) into one big Postmodernist mishmash of styles and influences. But this is also the ultimate downfall of the movie, because the clashing styles never end up fully working; the juxtaposition, for example, of contemporary indie-rock with lush historical costumes and sets just never quite gels, and Coppola's habit of filming grandiose court events in the verite style of a Last Nights Party field report plays as just too odd and disconcerting. I will say, though, that I exactly see what Coppola was trying to do with all this, and that she deserves kudos for making the attempt in the first place; and who knows? Maybe her next foray into cinematic experimentation will result in another Lost In Translation, her 2003 Oscar-winning big hit and easily one of my favorite films of all time. In any case, I for sure look forward to whatever she has for us next.

Strangest piece of trivia: The Palace of Versailles scenes look so convincing because they actually shot them at the Palace of Versailles, after receiving special permission from the French government.

Worth your time? Kinda

Filed by Jason Pettus at 4:18 PM, September 23, 2010. Filed under: Movies | Reviews |