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Movie Review: Marie Antoinette

Alternate Title: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

Story: In a nutshell, I could not wait for the French Revolution to begin so that these insufferable characters would be carted off to the Guillotine. Harsh, you say? Perhaps.

I admit that I was enthralled with the first 15 minutes of the film and enjoyed the last 15 minutes. However, the middle 85 minutes became repetitive vignettes (notice my use of French here) of essentially a fashion, vamping show. Yes, the clothes, shoes, hairdos and sets (it was filmed at Versailles) were all fabulous, but come on - enough is enough.

Director and writer Sofia Coppola has redone her Lost in Translation (which I liked) into Lost in Versailles. A young girl finds herself in an alien culture and is isolated. I only wish I had any sympathy for Marie Antoinette but none could be found. The film and the characters are shallow, superficial, vacuous, careless, indifferent and empty. Their world exists within the confines of the Palace walls totally oblivious to the brewing discontent outside.

So if you like your history peppered with a modern revisionist pop culture view check this film out. If you are looking for a story with a character driven theme, stay home and read a history book.

Acting: I have not been kind to Kirsten Dunst in the past and I am sad to say that view continues. She resorts to lip biting, staring, vamping and doing her otherwise cutesy thing that does not work for me. Jason Schwartzman as the young Louis was fine. He played the idiot boy King well. Judy Davis was sensational as was Rip Torn as the dirty old King Louis. The ensemble cast was fine there just was not much of a script for them to get their teeth into.

Predilection: I like Sofia Coppola's films.

Critters: My, my, how the Royals indulged in their critters. We saw an elephant, a monkey, goats, sheep, chickens and many, many dogs.

Food: Oh, the pastries. The French love their pastries and they are shown off as works of art. The food in the Palace was fine indeed. Let them eat cake (and they did).

Soundtrack: The soundtrack was modern and lots of fun. Included are Gang of Four, The Banshees, the Cure, Bow Wow Wow and the Aphex Twin. The 'I Want Candy' song was my favorite.

Opening Titles: A clever sequence which shows us why Marie Antoinette was being carted off from her royal digs in Austria to live in France.

Visual Art: Sumptuous paintings, drawings, sculpture and grounds. It is Versailles, of course.

Theater Audience: I saw this at the second screening of the NY Film Festival. Every seat was taken.

Weather: The weather seemed perfect for France.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I started to look at my watch after only 40minutes. Not a good sign. I drifted often.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No. However, it might get a nod for costumes and oh those shoes.

Big Screen or Rental: If you are a fan then the big screen is a must.

Length: About two hours.