Farewell, My Queen
USA Release: July 13, 2012
This film is told from the perspective of Agathe-Sidonie who is employed as a reader to the Queen. It follows her as she moves in and out of the realms of servant and royalty giving the viewer glimpses of both worlds at this time of upheaval – which was a useful storytelling device. We are lea to believe that Agathe-Sidonie possibly thinks herself in love with – or at least infatuated with – the Queen, but I never really believed it. I didn’t feel that we got to know her as well as we should have given that she was the point of view character. Diane Kruger plays Marie Antoinette beautifully, sometimes sedate and sometimes a little bit stirred, but a portrayal that felt based in reality rather than caricature, as many portrayals of her are.
The film covers a very short time period, merely days, the height of the turmoil roiling outside the palace just prior to the storming of the Bastille through the end of the royal family. Being insulated mostly within the court, you don’t feel the rising panic until it is too late. What the film does do well is to illustrate just how different the perspective of the court was from what was actually occurring in the city.
This was a beautiful and atmospheric film, which felt even more so for being in the French language. It required a lot of concentration to follow the language and storyline combined, but it was a pleasant film.
Normally I would post a trailer, but I think that it doesn’t represent the film well, so instead I am posting this scene, that was much more true to the tone of the story:
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