Well, finally I had the chance to go see Farewell, My Queen. The story for the script was adapted from a novel by the same name. In July it hit select theaters in the states.
Farewell, My Queen follows one of Marie Antoinette's young readers, Sidonie Laborde, who is shadowed by Madame Campan. We do not know anything about Sidonie except that she has trouble waking up in the morning and has a thorough knowledge of literature. (She could also beat you in a staring contest!) She lives at Versailles, where she feels safe from the outside world.
Sidonie is lucky among her friends because she gets to spend time with Marie Antoinette. The young reader to the Queen can recognize her discontent with her status, and at one point admits that the Queen tries to mentally escape when she can. In a way Sidonie also escapes her lot by focusing on Marie Antoinette. She builds a relationship with the Queen, which may mostly be in her own imagination, but she convinces herself of utter devotion to the Queen. She denies any relationship with the queen to her friends, as if she is keeping whatever it is between the queen and herself a big secret.
We only get a glimpse into Versailles during the course of a few short days in this film. Each day we wake up with Sidonie and follow her throughout her daily routine. Routine is disrupted by the beginnings of the Revolution. I loved the costumes, scenery, architecture, hair, and make up. The film stays inside the walls of Versailles (mainly) because Sidonie does not leave. So, while you do not get to see the events outside of Versailles, you do get to see the chaos spread and stirred throughout the palace. It feels like an inside peek into what people were saying, how gossip was spread within palace walls, and how people reacted.
A major plot line of this film is the scandalous nature of Marie Antoinette's relationship with the duchesse de Polignac. Everything was kept very ambiguous. Marie Antoinette's friendship with Little Po remained just curious enough that even blogger boyfriend had to ask if the queen really had a girlfriend. You see behavior at court and it is left open for interpretation and opinions. I will add that I nearly laughed out loud when the duchesse de Polignac made an appearance in her yellow sedan chair. It was a hilarious sight!
Both members of upstairs and downstairs whispered secrets and gossiped amongst each other. The court gossiped constantly about the Duchess de Polignac, but we (the viewers) only know her through brief glimpses (remember we are following Sidonie) and from gossip whispered around Sidonie. We do get to see Marie Antoinette more intimately - there is a lot of peering through windows and staring through doorways. It is a hobby for the servants to gaze in at the royals- which works out great for us because we get to see and learn so much, but it also makes you think of how privacy really was unheard of back then.