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Film / Marie Antoinette

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Marie Antoinette is a 2006 film by written and directed by Sofia Coppola, loosely based on the life of Marie Antoinette (played by Kirsten Dunst). The film follows the fifteen year old princess on her way to the French Court to be married to Louis XVI, her reign as queen, and through the beginning of The French Revolution, when she and her husband were forced to relocate to Paris.

Provides Examples Of:

  • Altar Diplomacy: Marie of Austria is delivered to Louis XVI of France at the age of 15 to cement a treaty between the two nations. Neither was really prepared for marriage, and Marie was despised at the French court as "that Austrian whore." Nevertheless, Marie and Louis grew to love each other during their short reign.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Louis's lack of social graces, total cluelessness about sex, and obsessive interest in locks (he is only able to consummate his marriage by his brother-in-law using lock and key metaphors to explain the process) are signs of possible Asperger's Syndrome.
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  • Anachronism Stew: Deliberately invoked. The director used modern music and a quick shot of Converse sneakers to express that Marie Antoinette was just like any other teenage girl despite the period the film was set in.
  • Arranged Marriage
  • Artistic Licence – History: As explained above in Anachronism Stew, the film, while it shows Sofia Coppola has done her research, takes many liberties with the clothing in order to follow the film's aesthetic.
    • Madame du Barry is dressed in a rather showy, almost gaudy way and lacks manners, mostly to show that she is from a different social class than all the other courtiers. The real Madame du Barry was known to be graceful and well-mannered, which was pretty much a requirement since she used to be a courtesan for noblemen, and her elegance was renowned even by her enemies. She was also genuinely hurt by Marie-Antoinette's snobiness towards her, and was said to have claimed several times she only wished to be her friend. Suffice to say, she would have never burped during a dinner, especially during the dinner where she would be introduced to the Dauphine.
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    • Strangely enough, the movie leaves out Princess Adelaide, the eldest of Louis and Marie's aunts who was still alive and living at Versailles. She was not only considered the prettiest of Louis XV's daughters and therefore resented Marie for stealing her spotlight and her father's affection, but she was also the main force behind pitting Marie against Madame du Barry.
    • It was not the Comtesse de Provence who had a child before Marie and Louis, but the Comtesse d'Artois. The Provence couple actually never had any children.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Aunt Sophie and Aunt Victoire.
  • Blithe Spirit: The Duchesse de Polignac.
  • The Cameo: French actor Mathieu Amalric as one of the guests at the masquerade ball.
  • Casting Gag: As Sofia Coppola is the daughter of a famous director, she cast many children of famous film professionals:
    • Jason Schwartzman (Louis XVI) is the son of actress Talia Shire and producer Jack Schwartzman (and Sofia Coppola's first cousin).
    • Asia Argento (Madame du Barry) is the daughter of director Dario Argento.
    • Mary Nighy (Princess de Lamballe) is Billy Nighy's daughter.
    • Katrine Boorman (The English Duchess) is the daughter of director John Boorman.
    • Danny Huston is of course son of John Huston and grandson of actor Walter Huston.
    • Io Bottoms, who played one of the ladies-in-waiting, is daughter of actor Sam Bottoms and Susan Arnold.
  • Costume Porn: Accentuating the extravagance of Marie Antoinette's court.
  • Decadent Court: Versailles. Oh yes.
  • Dirty Old Man: Louis XV. Truth in Television, as he was a sex maniac even by French standards. Hell, his Establishing Character Moment is to ask one of his ministers about Marie's bosom, and when the minister says he hasn't seen it, he laughs and says it would be the first place he would look at.
  • Doomed by Canon: As this is a historical fiction, sadly. Most of the characters (specifically Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, and all their friends) will either die or be exiled.
  • Fish out of Water: Marie Antoinette when she first arrives at the French Court. Justified because she comes from Austria.
  • Fluffy Fashion Feathers:
    • Marie begins wearing huge plumes in her hair. She nearly catches one on a candle at a party.
    • One of Marie's outfits is a dress trimmed with pink feathers and a feather muff, while her right hand lady in that scene wears a hat, muff, and dress trimmed with white feathers.
  • Food Porn: The pastries and macarons were made by Ladurée.
  • Futureshadowing: When Marie comes to the balcony to greet the mob, she bows her head, but does it in a fashion where she stoops her head so low that we see her neck and hands spread cross-wise. This alludes to the pose condemned rolled into the guillotine would assume, alluding to her eventual fate in history which the film does not show.
  • Good-Times Montage: I Want Candy by Bow Wow Wow, played over an orgiastic montage of dresses, shoes, jewellery, champagne, gambling, Ladurée confections and adorable dogs.
    • Played with in that it's used to illustrate how unhappy Marie Antoinette is in the restrictive French court and her marriage.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: Marie and just about every other character wears huge, beautiful dresses.
  • Gossipy Hens: Most ladies in the court, but especially Princesse Victoire and Princesse Sophie.
  • Improbable Hairstyle: Both anachronistic and maintenance. Marie has a modern haircut with layers and obvious highlights - most likely intentional on the director's part (see Anachronism Stew above). The film also shows her with some of her more famous over-the-top hairstyles.
  • Kick the Dog: Along with her clothes and possessions, Marie Antoinette's dog Mops is forcibly taken from her when she enters France.
    • The princesses who arrive late to Marie Antoinette's dressing ceremony appear to have done so on purpose, to force her to stand naked in front of the crowd for as long as possible.
  • Knight Templar Parent: Empress Maria Theresa, for so much Truth in Television.
  • Lady in Red: Madame Du Barry, probably to contrast with all of the paler colors of the French Court.
  • Marriage Before Romance: Starts with the marriage of King Louis XVI of France to Princess Marie of Austria. The two had never met until their wedding, which was made to solidify a treaty between France and Austria.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: Serious Business for a princess. Marie is constantly reminded that if she fails to produce children, then her marriage can be annulled and she can be shipped back to Austria. She's even heckled by members of the French court.
  • Nice Girl: The Princesse de Lamballe is especially kind to gawky foreigner Marie Antoinette.
  • Nice Hat: So many to choose from but the huge feathery one belonging to Marie Antoinette is possibly the most ludicrous.
    • Although when she's at Louis XVI's celebrations she wears a ship on her head!
  • No Animals Allowed: Marie has her beloved dog Mops taken from her upon entering France because it's proof of her original nationality and it would be bad for the marriage. Marie does get other dogs, though.
  • Papa Wolf: Despite being portrayed somewhat as a wimp and dork, King Louis is fiercely protective of his wife and children. When the revolting peasants descend upon Versaille, while the royal family and their entourage are gathered together in the parlor, after hearing a crash somewhere in the palace, Louis immediately gets up from his chair placing himself as a shield in front of a frightened Marie and their sobbing children.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Though their marriage was a diplomatic one, Marie and Louis genuinely do come to love each other.
  • Phallic Weapon: "Look at that sword."
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Given the setting, loads are worn, by Marie and other ladies.
  • Pretty in Mink: When getting the du Barry situation dealt with, Marie wears a black coat with ermine cuffs and collar.
  • Prince Charmless: Louis XVI to begin with. Then he gets more likable and becomes more of a Hopeless Suitor.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: Marie Antoinette wears a few pink dresses. She even says in one scene that she likes a bolt of pink cloth because it looks like candy.
  • Protagonist Title: The movie is unsurprisingly about the life of Marie Antoinette.
  • The Queen's Latin: Averted, despite the location and period the film was set in. The actors speak in their normal accents: Kirsten Dunst (Marie Antoinette) speaks in a General American accent, Rip Torn (Louis XV) speaks in a mild Texas accent, Steve Coogan (Ambassador Mercy) speaks with a British accent, Jason Schwartzman speaks with a General American accent.
    • But played straight for the Australian Rose Byrne (Duchess de Polignac) and Judy Davis (Comtesse de Noailles); they both use British accents.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Marie Antoinettes friends, the Duchesse de Polignac and the Princesse de Lamballe.
  • Running Gag: Marie Antoinette's morning routine, each time accompanied by Vivaldi's exhuberant Concerto In G Major.
  • Sexless Marriage: Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI don't consummate their marriage for 7 years. Once they do however, Marie gives birth to their first child.
  • Slut-Shaming: The French court has an extremely low opinion of Madame du Barry, Louis XV's mistress, because she was born a commoner and used to work in a brothel.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Marie and her Ladies in Waiting indulge in many luxuries, yet all remain genuinely kind hearted and well meaning people, having no idea of the plight of the peasants. After finally learning how the poor are suffering, she does try to make some concessions to ease her subjects suffering... Unfortunately, by that time, it's too late to save her and her husband.
  • Straight Man: Ambassador de Mercy-Argenteau tries to explain important state business to disinterested teenage Marie Antoinette, while she tries on dresses, eats macarons, and plays with her dog.
  • Shown Their Work: Sofia Coppola took a few quotes directly from the biography by Lady Antonia Fraser:
    • Louis XV's comments about Marie's bosom when she arrives in France.
    • When Madame du Barry sends diamonds as a gift, Marie says she already has enough.
    • Marie's first words to Madame du Barry being a comment on the amount of people at Versailles.
    • When Marie is throwing a party and she explains to Louis that he said she could throw one, but didn't specify how long for.
  • The Talk: King Louis get one by his brother-in-law, no less.


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