Cinema - Marie Antoinette

Sometimes a film comes along which divides critics down the middle. Some ‘get’ it, others simply don’t. Marie Antoinette, the latest feature by Sofia Ford Coppola, is just such a film. It was widely (and somewhat inaccurately) reported that the film was roundly booed at Cannes. It didn’t do great box office in the US. It became fashionable to slate it. Coppola, lauded after The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation, had got to just at the stage in her career where the snipers were out to get her. Philip French of the Observer calls the film ‘tedious vacuity, uncritically rendered.’

And yet… and yet… Marie Antionette is a bold and sumptuous film, starring an irrepressible Kirsten Dunst as the Austrian princess brought to Versailles at the age of 14 to marry the Dauphin, and suddenly the biggest celebrity in the most glamorous setting in the world. Coppola was allowed virtually unlimited access to the Palace of Versailles for the production of the film, and given a huge budget to reproduce the ludicrously extravagant costumes worn, and often taken off, by an impressive cast. She does the job with panache, and verve, letting the actors speak in there own accents, and adding a soundtrack of 80’s new wave songs, by bands such as the Cure and Bow Wow Wow. Dunst never actually says ‘let them eat sushi’ but we’re in that territory. Tedious vacuity? A slow-moving film looking at the pitfalls of celebrity. It couldn’t be better timed. You’ll love it. Or you’ll hate it. But can you resist going along? DL

Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette split critics down the middle

All Saint’s Centre, Lewes
When? Sat 6pm, Sun 8:15pm
How Much? £5
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