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August 17, 2012

Farewell, My Queen: Movie Review


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.  

I will not spoil anything regarding the ending but really enjoyed it and I think you will too! Let me know if you have seen it or if you get to check it out. Also, let me know if you gasped like I did when the Queen brought up having Leonard assist with a certain something!

21 comments

  1. Lol, I was a little sceptical to watch this movie beacuse of all the "OH MY GOSH! LESBIAN QUEEN!!!", and my fear for the movie ruining MA`s reputation. AGAIN.
    Anyway, from what I can see Diane Krueger looks more like MA than any other actress who has played, and her acting has improved since "Troy" *shivers*

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  2. It is another european movie about the 18th century, which is about Carline Mathilde, her affair with Dr Strunsee, and her husband Christian 7, which is quite juicy :3

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  3. Oh, and It is called "A ROYAL AFAIR"

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  4. @Violet YES I had the same initial reaction. I thought it was going to be all hot and steamy with a certain message. But it was really ambiguous! lovers? just friends? it is up to us to decide.

    @Anonymous thanks for the movie suggestion, I will have to check it out!

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  5. Being a big MA fan, I can't wait to see this, mostly because it seems that Diane Kruger is a luminous choice for the queen, but also to see this version of the story (keeping an open mind!).

    Betty

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  6. While I liked much of this pic, whenever we left the halls of Versailles/Trianon the set decoration was a throwback the old days when any Louis style piece as long as it was gilt (however ill-matched) would do for "ambience". The queen's boudoir (or whatever it was)where she burned her letters was particularly bad.

    And the dress business at the end was ridiculous - was it so well known that everyone in France would recognize it? And a SILK dress for travel in the 18th century - I think not.

    And MA having a sobbing fit at the thought of parting from Gabrielle? I think the dauphin's death two months before would have sobered up the queen a whole lot, making this kind of a scene at that point very unlikely.

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  7. thank u lauren for the review. i am hesitant to watch this movie because it seemed to ruin Le Reine's reputation. I think Coppola is better than this mainly it gives us a glimpse of how hard it was for her that "everyone is watching u". I think the best Marie Anotinette is Norma Shearer, i wish that movie was in technicolor. they should make a movie about Vigee LeBrun. I hope more Marie Antoinette movies will come out soon and hope it will do justice on Le Reine. Viva La Reine!!!

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  8. I wanted to see this but i'm not fond of the anti-monarchy porn pamphlets that introduced the idea of the queens "close and extremely inappropriate" relationship with her friends. *rolls eyes at the reformists*

    It looked very interesting, just wish they didn't put that aspect in the movie, kind of ruined the image of the delightful, friendly, fashion loving queen i have in mind. It made her seem more lustful and erotic.

    Then again people like drama weather its true or not, and it sells that why Amadeus while over-stressed enmity between Antonio Salieri & Mozart became a big movie.

    I'm just going to patiently wait for them to make another movie about her, or i can settle for Catherine the great. :)

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  9. I'm reading the book since I had to pass on the movie this past weekend (people *will* have babies that must be visited, sigh).

    I'm not keen on the lezzie overtones here, but from the little I've read of the book so far, the real lesbian, or girl on girl crush, is Sidonie on MA.

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  10. can you do femme of the week again ?

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  11. I LOLd over the sedan chair, too! I enjoyed the movie, your review and reading everyone's comments.

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  12. After watching the film, I'm not too thrilled with the hints at lesbianism because they were thrown in for salaciousness, rath than to show a lesbian love story or people standing up for their beliefs. This 82 year old man kept harrumphing and making lewd comments. However, I saw people who spoke to each other in the language of friendship of their times. And the kiss from MA to Sidonie at the end was the traditional kiss of fealty from monarch to subject.

    I was impressed with the brilliant acting, however, and the way the film made you feel fear, both of the mob and the revolution that was starting. Finally, I was thinking, I've never seen Virginie Ledoyen play someone arrogant like that before. She really carried it off well.

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  13. I thought it was brilliant and beautifully done, and the ruthlessness innate between the classes was well conveyed. Not only I but everyone in the theater gasped at the point to which you refer...

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  14. In cinema my friend & i went to, the only noise at the kiss was the 82 year old man going "hurr, hurr, hurr." We laughed. I shall have to see this movie again...

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  15. In cinema my friend & i went to, the only noise at the kiss was the 82 year old man going "hurr, hurr, hurr." We laughed. I shall have to see this movie again...

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  16. I couldn't get over how absolutely hideous that acid-green dress was -looked like the upholstery of some godawful 1990's deckchair!

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  17. Heather, it's such a fantastic film, I want us to do a google hangout and just girlie chat away about it and other MA film portrayals.

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  18. I really want to google hangout and talk about MA film portrayals...

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  19. Hello all...I too am dying to see this film...but HOW? Will it be released on dvd??? I do not live in a city where it played and i have looked online...can anyone help me out?? Thank you so much...have a great day
    Marcy

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    1. Hi Marcy, did you ever get to see it? Just saw Amazon has it for $2.99 now if you rent it http://www.amazon.com/Farewell-My-Queen-L%C3%A9a-Seydoux/dp/B00B19DSFS/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1388721123&sr=8-8&keywords=marie+antoinette

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