“Marie Antoinette” by Sofia Coppola is one of the most successful films created by Sofia Coppola, which depicts in details the historical epoch on the turn of French history. The film shows the life of French Queen Marie Antoinette depicting in details the historical context, in which she lived and ruled and the tragic end of her reign. In this regard, it is worth mentioning the fact that the film mirrors the vision of the director of the history of France in the last years of French monarchy and the turning point in the history of France, the French Revolution. Remarkably, Sofia Coppola attempts to show the decline of the French monarchy from the standpoint of French Queen Marie Antoinette, who had been a stranger to French people since the beginning of her rule till the last days of the French monarchy symbolizing the rejection of the monarchy by French people. Therefore, the film conveys the true story, which mirrors historical events that occurred in France and brings in the director’s vision and interpretation of these historical events. To make the story depicted in the film close to the real life, the director has paid a lot of attention to costumes and decorations as well as places depicted in the film.
The historical context of Marie Antoinette’s rule
On analyzing the film, it is important to dwell upon the historical context, which Sofia Coppola attempted to convey in the film. In fact, Marie Antoinette was the last French Queen, who was of the Austrian origin and who was the subject to the severe criticism, if not to say, hatred from the part of French people. In fact, the French did not like, if not to say hated, Marie Antoinette because she was Austrian (Fraser, 2001). In this regard, it is worth mentioning the fact that the ongoing conflict between France and Austria was one of the major factor contributing to the formation of the negative attitude to Marie Antoinette in France. Furthermore, the lifestyle of the French Queen evoked negative feelings in French people because the posh lifestyle of Marie Antoinette contrasted to the striking poverty, which the overwhelming majority of the French had to live in (Wollstonecraft, 2005). Third, Marie Antoinette could not bring the heir to the French throne for a long time and that was another reason for the formation of the negative attitude to her from the part of French people as well as French aristocracy (Hermann, 2006). As a result, Marie Antoinette had an extremely negative image in France and Sofia Coppola attempted to uncover the truth about the life of Marie Antoinette.
The artistic and stylistic elements used in the film to convey the authenticity of the epoch depicted in the film
The director of the film pays a lot of attention to details, such as costumes of the main characters. The costumes used in the film match the epoch, when Queen Marie Antoinette lived and ruled. At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that shoes used in the film were ordered from Laduree, a renowned French manufacturer, which products are manufactured for the premium segment of the market (Coppola, 2006). In such a way, such unimportant at first glance details convey the authenticity of the epoch and lifestyle of Marie Antoinette.
Furthermore, the director of the film uses the original scenery to show Versailles and Paris, where the action of the film takes place. The original scenery helps the audience to feel the epoch, when Marie Antoinette lived and makes the film more realistic. The original scenery is vivid and conveys accurate details, which could have been omitted if other scenery was used.
The destruction of the French monarch was the logical outcome of Louis XV’s rule. At the same time, the Queen’s bedroom being destroyed is a symbol of the decay and downfall of the French monarchy, which mirrors perfectly the tragic end of the monarchy and start a new page in the history of France. The bedroom of the Queen is depicted in details and it resembles the original furniture used by French monarchs in the late 18th century. At the same time, the bedroom depicted in the end of the film is totally abandoned that is a symbol of the decline of the monarchy in France. It seems as if the bedroom and the bed are still full of the fragrance of Maria Antoinette but she definitely left the room to never return back.
Thus, in conclusion, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that “Marie Antoinette” by Sofia Coppola is the critical evaluation of the life of the last Queen of France. The director interprets and explains the negative attitude of the French to Marie Antoinette. As a result, she attempts to show that Marie Antoinette was not a monster as French people believed but she was rather a victim
Coppola, S. (2006). Marie Antoinette. Columbia Pictures.
Fraser, A. (2001). Marie Antoinette, The Journey. Anchor
Hermann, E. (2006). Sex With The Queen. Harper/Morrow
Wollstonecraft, M. (2005). An Historical and Moral View of the Origin and Progress of the French Revolution and the Effect it Has Produced in Europe. St. Paul’s