Thursday, October 19, 2006

Marie Antoinette

Posted on Thu, Oct 19, 2006 at 4:00 AM

****1/2
Marie Antoinette
Studio: Sony Pictures Releasing
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Asia Argento, Rip Torn, Molly Shannon
Director: Sofia Coppola
WorkNameSort: Marie Antoinette
Our Rating: 4.50
With Marie Antoinette, Sofia Coppola avoids a potentially lachrymose biopic about an executed French monarch by creating an anachronistic post-punk opera about feminist rebellion. A triumph of style, Marie Antoinette captures the textural grace and harmony of disconnection and disaffection that Coppola honed in Lost in Translation. That style is perfected here as we watch the title character's decadent escapes from a sexless marriage into an eventual self-made garden paradise. Eschewing three-act rise-fall-redemption pandering, Coppola's take on Antoinette is an impressionistic flow of images that show her adjusting to life in a foreign land and struggling to find self-realization (as did Pocahontas in the equally polarizing New World). Kirsten Dunst probes the depths of her character, even when she's a near-wordless cipher in the first half-hour. Meanwhile the Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, New Order and other '80s staples pulsate in the background, all part and parcel of Coppola's esoteric vision. The deliberate artifice of the director's style will alienate more people than it will attract, but this bold and inimitable movie is the best flick made by a Coppola in 27 years.

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