When Marilyn Monroe sashayed in pink satin, pushing herself through a crowd of be-tuxed men and singing, 'Diamonds are a girl's best friend!', she ended up as an icon of sex appeal and fashion. Tonight I watched Kirsten Dunst attempt such a move, but her sashay looked too much like the tripping gait of a giggling, drunk sorority chick. Her philandering was not the product of passion, but rather that of a truly bad script. And while she dazzled in a wardrobe of gowns so very silk, so very rich, so very dripping with jewels, all I could do was yawn.
Marie Antoinette is a bad movie. It's important to note that this film, done so decadently, doesn't even warrant a more impassioned critical review. Had Sophia Coppola chosen to isolate still frames of the palace at Versailles, the gardens, the fireworks displays, the interiors all slathered in gold and blue tapestries, even of Kirsten Dunst made up like a saucy, greedy version of Little Miss Muffet, the collection might have ended up as a terrific coffee table book. I'm even the type of girl who would go to a museum display of replicated 18th Century French fans. But all the gold gilding in the world couldn't disguise the aimless plot, the pointless amusement of the film itself.
There was a single magnificently tusked elephant in the movie. He was wonderful.
I had high hopes as I took my seat next to a good friend and waited for the credits to roll. A modern soundtrack and fuchsia titles revved me up for a unique look at one of the most intriguing moments in history: a time when the common people got so fed up with the wonton gluttony and idleness of their monarchy that they went vehemently vigilante and literally cut off the problem at its source. Oh, the energy of the French revolution, the same energy that makes Les Miserables touching and tragic, was sugared down, washed away by champagne, and kept just on the outside of the palace walls.
Point of view is important in a film, especially one that seeks to give an audience a fresh perspective. I wanted to empathize with the child bride, the virgin queen, the isolated girl, the flibbertigibbet with a good heart. I wanted to bathe my senses in a culture based on a rigid (albeit ridiculous) code of status and political alliance, a code that blossoms in patterns of conduct, presentation of food, ceremonies for everything. When the young betrothed princess is guided across the Austrian border through a series of lavish tents, stripped of everything she has (including her precious squirming puppy), and stands naked at the entrance to France, I felt it. A twinge of sympathy as she was redressed in the clothes of her new court. But it was over before it began.
The point of view was lost in a shuffle of pink feathers and pink diamonds and pink champagne, and all the while Kirsten Dunst giggled through her plump, pink fingers, front and center.
While the plot had much potential, it petered out early. A poorly picked soundtrack was partially to blame. The audience never knew whether to yawn and lick the pink frosting off their fingers in the long silent scenes, or to get their groove on to Bow Wow Wow's 'I Want Candy'! And then there were those awkward moments when the consistently bubbleheaded queen would pause, gaze sagely at her husband and then, disregarding the approach of a murderous mob, she'd murmur, 'My place is here with my husband, the king.' What??!! Since when does she understand her rank on a level so deep she's willing to sacrifice her life, the lives of her children?
Oh yes, she does have children, by the way. Two darling platinum blonde children. They're lovely. It's unnecessary.
I'd love to stop here because I don't think this movie is worth the paper my $10.50 ticket was printed on, but I can't. The ending of the film must be mentioned. Mostly because it took forever to get there. Running time of this pepto bismol colored drivel? Two hours and three minutes. I was so sick of Kirsten Dunst, I was ready to light my own torch and shout along with the crowd, 'Off with her head!' But we didn't get to see that. Nope. The journey ended as it began, in a gilded carriage with the little girl queen bobbing along with the beat of the horses' hoofs, just saying goodbye to another palace.
We didn't even get to watch her die.
Perhaps the ending was cut because no one could explain the reason Coppola decided to make the queen's blood pink...
I was just glad to go, and to have a friend with whom to moan about the whole thing. (Jen, really sorry about this movie. We'll pick a much better one next time!) And now I've released this nausea from within myself. Too much cotton candy will do that to a person.