La Reine Margot is a film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Alexandre Dumas, père. Released in 1994, the film stars Isabelle Adjani as Margot, Vincent Perez as her lover La Môle, and Daniel Auteuil as Henri de Bourbon, the king of Navarre. Originally clocking in at roughly 160 minutes, the film was cut by twenty or so minutes for its international release because of disappointing performance at the box-office in France and criticism that the film was too violent and incoherent. In addition to cuts, changes included a scene of Margot and La Môle wrapped in a red cloth for the American release.France, 1572. Unrest between Catholics and Protestants is coming to a head. In an effort to restore some semblance of peace, the dowager queen Catherine, the real power behind King Charles IX, arranges a marriage between her daughter, Marguerite de Valois, and the Protestant Henri de Bourbon, King of Navarre. People gather from all over the country to attend the wedding, including several thousand Protestants. One of them being a young man by the name of La Môle who has business with Admiral de Coligny, the king's current favorite.Naturally, no mere marriage can solve the larger political problems in France, from religious disagreements to a potential war with Spain that Coligny is pushing for, and what's more, Catherine knows that her days in power might be over. The only way to resolve all these issues, so she believes, is to start picking off Protestant leaders.Until the king says to kill them all.
La Reine Margot (1994) includes examples of:
Absolute Cleavage: After her wedding, Margot wears a blue gown that laces in the front. Or at least, it's supposed to lace in the front.
Domino Mask: Margot wears one when she goes out looking for a man to have sex with.
Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Anjou is the most immoral of all Catherine's children, but he is her favorite. And he loves her more than any of the others can claim to.
Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Anjou and Alençon are only referred to by their titles. note In real life, their names were Alexandre Édouard (later Henri III) and Hercule François.
Evil Matriarch: Catherine has more than a little of this to her. Certainly Charles wouldn't be surprised if she tried to kill him so Anjou could rule, but she denies this vehemently.
Failure Is the Only Option: When Alençon sets a trap for Henri the poisoned book is picked up by Charles instead. Alençon has two choices. He can save his brother and both doom himself (because Henri is Charles' current favorite) and implicate his mother, or he can let Charles keep reading and die from it while saving his own neck.
Fairy Tale Wedding Dress: Especially next to her husband's austere black, Margot's wedding dress is very elaborate and extravagant.
Historical Villain Upgrade: In real life, Catherine and Anjou were considered "Politiques" who put the well-being of France ahead of the Catholic-Huguenot divide. Because of that they were despised by the Pope, the duc de Guise and his family, and the King of Spain for being too tolerant of the Huguenots.
Hoist by His Own Petard: Catherine arranges to have Henri poisoned so he will no longer threaten Charles. Charles ends up getting poisoned instead.
King on His Deathbed: Charles spends the last twenty or so minutes of the movie sweating blood as a result of arsenic poisoning. He does make it back to his bed for one last private conversation with his sister.
Kiss of Death: The even more devious plan to poison Henri de Bourbon via his paramour's lipstick is employed but thwarted by Margot appearing and saving him at the last minute.
Love Potion: Charlotte de Sauvre receives rouge that contains a powerful aphrodisiac. It's actually poison meant for Henri, but it only kills her.
Man in White: Charles' last appearance in the throne room just before his death. Margot is also wearing white in this scene to greet him.
Master Poisoner: Réné the Florentine is rumored to be this as well as Catherine's perfumer. Turns out, it's true.
Morality Pet: Margot believes herself to be this to her brothers, but as Henri warns her this proves to be untrue.
Mortal Wound Reveal: Charles just looks kind of weak and sick... and then he starts sweating blood. From everywhere.
Puppet King: Charles was this until recently, while his mother wielded the true power in France. He credits Coligny with freeing him from Catherine's control, though of course Coligny is just using him, too.
Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Margot, as played by Isabelle Adjani. Paler than anyone else in the film with very dark hair, Margot is widely considered a beautiful but poisonous woman, enchanting men with her looks even when they know better than to get involved.
Succession Crisis: What drives a lot of Catherine's actions. Because were something to happen to her sons, they have no children to ensure Henri de Bourbon doesn't get the crown of France.
The Unfavorite: Margot, as emphasized by Catherine saying she loves all three of her children, and then correcting herself to say she has four.
Villainous Incest: The titular Marguerite de Valois having sex with her brothers and their brother Anjou being in love with their mother, Catherine de' Medici. The whole incestuous lot is pretty villainous with atrocities, backstabbing, and poisonings under their belt, though a couple of them are more ambiguous including Margot herself.
"Well Done, Son" Guy: Gender flip with the parent as Charles is looking for his mother's approval and feels he is constantly denied it.
Woman in Black: Queen Catherine, because she is a widow, wears quite a lot of black. Given how formidable and scary she can be, the color suits her well.
Woman in White: In the last scenes of the movie, Margot appears in a pure white gown, which is stained with gore as the last horrors unfold.