Sofia Coppola follows up her Oscar-winning LOST IN TRANSLATION with her most ambitious effort yet. Based on the book MARIE ANTOINETTE: THE JOURNEY by Antonia Fraser, Coppola's film infuses modern pop-culture elements into a regal, historical biopic, resulting in a strikingly original work. Kirsten Dunst plays Marie Antoinette, a 14-year-old Austrian who is about to wed France's next king, Louis XVI (a fattened-up Jason Schwartzman). Her new life is a constant barrage of pomp and circumstance, which baffles the otherwise ordinary teenager. While love has nothing to do with the union between Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, producing an offspring does. Unfortunately, Louis XVI shows no interest in having a physical relationship with his willing wife. Instead, Marie Antoinette begins to embrace her life of royalty, biding her time by shopping and partying and living the life of a spoiled teenager. As time passes, Louis XVI works out his problems and soon the couple has begun to bear children. But eventually, the impoverished French people become fed up with the disparity of wealth between the royal family and the average Frenchman, unleashing a revolt that would change the course of history forever.
Coppola's decision to use a modern pop-music soundtrack (Bow Wow Wow, the Strokes) is bold, to be sure, yet it is the type of personal choice that rings firmly true. Another brave decision was to let her well-assembled cast (including Judy Davis, Danny Huston, Rip Torn, Asia Argento, and Marianne Faithful) speak in their natural accents. Decisions like these are what make MARIE ANTOINETTE such a personal, distinct work, proving that Coppola only continues to grow as an artist.
This film was selected for inclusion in the 44th New York Film Festival organized by the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
Academy Awards Best Costume Design 2006