I had high expectations for this film since I loved Sofia Coppola’s last two films, Lost in Translation and Virgin Suicides. Unfortunately, Marie Antoinette is nothing more than a very long music video with gorgeous costumes, a great cast and astounding period details. There is no story. If you don’t mind that, then you will love this film.
The entire movie seems to be taken up by the endless partying of Marie Antoinette and her friends, which is interesting after 10 minutes but after one hour you just want them to get on with life. Or perhaps that’s the point – they had no life except for the parties.
Coppola shows us the formal and often ridiculous court protocols of Versailles, Marie Antoinette’s (and her friends’) beautiful shoes and clothes, the amazing cakes and pastries they feasted on, but little of the politics or court intrigues of the time.
Coppola set the film to modern music and the soundtrack of Marie Antoinette features Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Cure, Phoenix, New Order, Bow Wow Wow and the Strokes. It’s a very bold move to set a period film to contemporary music, but it works very well because there is no story at all and indeed, the whole thing is meant to be an exquisite music video.