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Stars: Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Jamie Dornan, Judy Davis, Rip Torn, Steve Coogan, Marianne Faithfull
Director: Sofia Coppola
There may be an interesting film to be made about the 18th- century French queen, but this frothy confection isn't it. Sofia Coppola's movie, sluggish and muddled, runs like an historical sex romp without the sex scenes.
Dunst is the 15-year-old Austrian duchess who enters an arranged marriage with the heir to the French throne (Schwartzman) who may or may not be gay - we are told he 'spends too much time with the stable-boys' - but at any rate (and despite the intervention of an 18th-century marriage guidance counsellor) takes seven years to consummate the marriage.
Meanwhile, Marie quickly tires of such palace customs as seeing progressively higher royals dressing her and throws herself into frivolities, eventually having an affair with a Swedish count (Dornan), who promptly (and perhaps mercifully) goes off to war.
Extremely decorous about such sex scenes as it has, the film mixes period music with anachronistic pop music on its soundtrack to jarring effect. Dunst just about emerges with her acting reputation intact, but a miscast Schwartzman struggles, and there's a very strange role for Coogan as Marie's confidant.
It woiuld have been nice in a way to learn more about Marie's later years, but perhaps at 123 minutes, enough is enough.
USA 2005. UK Distributor: Columbia/Sony. Colour by FotoKem.
123 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.
Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.
Review date: 15 Oct 2006