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NYFF: “Marie Antoinette.”

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"Dear God, guide and protect us. We are too young to reign."Marie Antoinette led a frivolous and extravagant (if sometimes unhappy) life before meeting up with the guillotine at age 37, and that seems to be why so many critics at Cannes were quick to assign the same qualities to Sofia Coppolla‘s film. Certainly "Marie Antoinette" doesn’t circumscribe any typical biopic arc — the once Queen of France’s defining duties were to exist as a political token, to be on constant display, to visit with other nobles to reassure them of their social status, and to produce an heir. Not particularly personal tasks, and, if the film has any argument, it’s that Marie’s triumph was actually managing to find joy in them. But even that argument is beside the point — the film’s main purpose to bringing a historical icon to glorious, imperfect life. Versailles may have been a gilded prison, but why be coy? It was also extraordinarily swank, and "Marie Antoinette" revels, with a wink, in the luxury. There are montages of shoe shopping and confectionery, there are fabulous outfits, there are whirlwinds of parties and just plain delightful moments like the scene in which Marie and company run down the steps in the garden in full finery and watch the sun rise by the water.

The film’s much-discussed anachronisms — the 80s New Wave soundtrack, the defiantly contemporary casting (particularly a licentious Rip Torn and a befuddled Jason Schwartzman
as the Louis XV and XVI) and dialogue — are stylistic choices, but they’re also
attempts at humanizing life at court. Marie, the film urges, was just your standard flighty, irrepressible
teenager when she took her place as a political chesspiece…and yes, this does comes across a bit apologist. After all, her mother, Austrian Empress Maria Theresa (played in the film by Marianne Faithfull), established herself as a formidable political figure — Marie choose to swaddle herself in gossip and excess, only to discover that the increasingly remote real world was turning against her for reasons she seems barely able to grasp. That the latter third of the film accelerates through the birth of one child and barely sketched-in loss of another, the "let them eat cake" line, the shift in public sentiment, and the American Revolution with scarcely a pause shows exactly how concerned it is with historical developments over grand gestures, which would be not at all. And the film has one more grand gesture to celebrate: When the palace is being stormed, Marie goes out onto the balcony to greet the angry mob calling for her blood. She gathers herself, and then gracefully sketches a bow, and despite their fury and disdain, everyone in the crowd falls silent.

There’s no way around it — it just looks so good.

Screens October 13 and 14 at Alice Tully Hall; opens in theaters October 20th.

+ "Marie Antoinette" (NYFF)
+ "Marie Antoinette" (Sony)

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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