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Film / Milady

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Milady is a 2004 French swashbuckler Made-for-TV Movie directed by Josée Dayan (The Count of Monte Cristo) and written by Catherine Clément and Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt. It is inspired by the character of Milady de Winter from The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas.

In early 17th century France, as the child of a Protestant couple, the young Charlotte Backson saw her parents being slaughtered by Catholic fanatics sent by her grandmother Jeanne De Breuil, who then put her into a convent. At age 18, Charlotte escaped from the convent by seducing the young Count of La Fère, who ambitioned to become a priest. The two of them separated, and Charlotte, under the new name of Milady de Winter she gained by marrying an English nobleman then becoming a widow in mysterious circumstances, started climbing the social ladder of the kingdom of France using her seduction talents, so much so that she ended up being recruited by the Cardinal Richelieu, who entrusted her with a mission. Milady soon finds out that a certain trio (then quatuor) of Musketeers of the King stands in her way...

The cast includes Arielle Dombasle as Milady, Asia Argento as Sally La Chèvre, Martin Lamotte as Richelieu, Julie Depardieu as Constance Bonacieux, Florent Pagny as D'Artagnan, Christopher Buchholz as the Duke of Buckingham, Guillaume Depardieu as Athos, Éric Ruf (who would later play Richelieu) as Aramis and Frédéric Longbois as Porthos.

Milady provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Name Change: Milady's birth name from the novel is Anne de Breuil, whereas here she's named Charlotte Backson, which is the alias she uses when she marries Lord de Winter in the novel.
  • Black Widow: Milady married Lord de Winter to gain his title and access to his wealth, then he suddenly died, despite he was said to be a healthy man. Multiple clues (including her very fake mourning) indicate that she poisoned him.
  • The Cameo:
    • Italian socialite Massimo Gargia note  as an English nobleman.
    • French actor Edouard Baer makes an appearance as the Viscount of Wardes.
  • Church Militant: Milady's Protestant parents were killed when men came for them on the orders of her grandmother Jeanne De Breuil, a Catholic fanatic.
  • Femme Fatale: Milady, who else? A gorgeous but ruthless seducer, a Black Widow, the Cardinal's agent... nothing is missing in there.
  • The Ghost: King Louis XIII is mentioned a few times but never seen.
  • I'll Kill You!: Upon being sent to the convent, little Charlotte says "One day Madame, I will kill you!" to her grandmother.
  • Locked Away in a Monastery: Young Charlotte was sent to a convent by her fanatically Catholic grandmother.
  • Origins Episode: The film starts with an origin story for Milady de Winter, from her childhood up until she confronts the Three Musketeers and D'Artagnan.
  • Perspective Flip: The Three Musketeers, told from the perspective of Milady.
  • Start of Darkness: As an adult, Milady's first crime is the murder of her husband.
  • Time-Shifted Actor: A child actress played young Charlotte, and Arielle Dombasle played adult Charlotte/Milady.
  • Villain Protagonist: Milady, who's a ruthless Black Widow and gets tasked to bring proof that King Louis XIII's consort Queen Anne is compromised with the Duke of Buckingham.
  • You Killed My Father: Little Charlotte vows to kill her grandmother Jeanne De Breuil after her parents were killed by men sent by her.