Marie Antoinette (PG-13)

Drama 118 October 20, 2006
By J. Hoberman
Drop-dead hip or cluelessly clueless? Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette, a candy-colored portrait of France's infamous teen queen, is a graceful, charming, and sometimes witty confection -- at least for its first hour. The famously shy Coppola may be an inscrutable personality, but her bold exposé of backstage royalty opens with a big wink and a few crashing chords, courtesy of Gang of Four. A slice of Austrian apple strudel imported to marry the 15-year-old French dauphin, Marie Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst) arrives nakedly vulnerable in Versailles. Here, as with Coppola's previous features, an unformed young woman must find her way in a confusing, if stylish, world -- it's as though the defining moment in the filmmaker's artistic life was her arrival as a 20-year-old actress on the set of Dad's Godfather III. Marie's gravitas arrives like a bolt from the blue; the bubble bursts and the movie crashes definitively to earth at the moment when, informed of her legendary one-liner, the queen turns all, like, serious: "I would never say that." Whatever. Coppola ends on the image of a tragically trashed imperial boudoir. Let ’em lick icing.
Sofia Coppola Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Rip Torn, Judy Davis, Asia Argento, Marianne Faithfull, Aurore Clément, Guillaume Gallienne, Molly Shannon, Steve Coogan Antonia Fraser, Sofia Coppola Sofia Coppola, Ross Katz Sony Pictures

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