Royal let-down
Ervell E. Menezes

Marie Antoinette is more fluff, less substance
Marie Antoinette
is more fluff, less substance

Based on Antonia Fraser’s novel on the ill-fated French Queen, this film attempts to give a contemporary story of the woman behind the "if there’s no bread, eat cake," statement. And though it begins promisingly with the Austrian Archduchess entry into French royal life, it promises only to deceive.

Director Sophia Coppola tries to give it an American flavour and freaks out on the costumes and glitter of that period. She also makes a promising start with Marie Antoinette’s (Kirsten Dunst) liaisons in the bedroom with her husband Louis Auguste, who is more interested in hunting than procreation. But even this aspect is overdone.

It is a touching beginning when our heroine has to leave all her Austrian connections behind, including her little dog that she dotes on. But gradually she learns to adapt to her new surroundings where the French court with all its trimmings is shown in all its pageantry. The establishing shots are needlessly long and by the time one gets to the developing story, the film has lost its bite.

In fact the costumes seem to take center-stage and one is not able to get to the emotions beneath. Kirsten Dunst is a talented actress but she is not well handled and the angst that this woman goes through does not really come across. They find time to demolish the "eat cake" adage and there are a few modern touches but they are all drowned in fluff and glitter. The soul is clearly missing.

That they dwell so much in the beginning means that they have to rush things later. Expectedly the guillotine scene is left out and after all of 123 minutes, the only feeling one is left with is that of being let down. The biggest let-down in the films (not the organisation) of IFFI 06 so far. Marie Antoinette.