Guys, I really wanted to love Farewell, My Queen, and it was beautiful and everything, especially the ladies and the clothes, but mostly I was kind of bored.
The film tells the story of the last days of Marie Antoinette through the eyes of her reader, which is a neat way of structuring a film because it creates a tension between her highly limited information as a servant and the historical information we have as an audience. It’s based on a novel, apparently, which I have not read, but as is often true when I don’t get quite what I want out of a film I am now curious about the book.
Here are five things I thought about while watching Farewell, My Queen:
1) The original casting. I read that Eva Green had been cast as Marie Antoinette, but she left the project to do Dark Shadows instead. This was probably a mistake. I spent a lot of time thinking about the spin she could have put on the role, particularly considering her work in The Dreamers and Cracks. This is not at all a knock against Diane Kruger who was great. Just, Green would have been very different.
2) Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette. For whatever reason (probably just a deep personal failing on my part) I only just saw this film about six months ago. I loved it, and deeply regretted not seeing it in the theater. I’m hoping SIFF does a Sofia Coppola tribute sooner rather than later & I’ll get another chance to see it properly.
3) Inglourious Basterds. Diane Kruger gives a lovely performance as Marie Antoinette, but mostly I just wanted to go home and watch her fierce turn as Bridget von Hammersmark.
4) 8 Women. I know Virginie Ledoyen has been working consistently since this film, but every time I see her I think of her as the young, perhaps not-so-innocent daughter in 8 Women. I remember it as a campy & ridiculous murder mystery full of awesome ladies, and watching her as Gabrielle, the object of the Queen’s affections, very attuned to the workings of the court, I thought it might be fun to revisit. It is a virtual who’s who of awesome French actresses.
5) Léa Seydoux. She’s the star of this film, as Sidonie, the reader captivated by the Queen, & I am enjoying that she is suddenly everywhere. She’s reportedly starring in a Beauty & the Beast film next year, opposite Vincent Cassel as the Beast, and if you don’t think I’m excited about that. Well. Perhaps we have not yet been properly introduced.