The argument being made against Coppola and "Marie Antoinette" — that the film is Coppola’s apologia for rich, empty-headed luxury; that it has no historical or political sense; that it has, God help us, no ideas — is elitism masquerading as populism. "Marie Antoinette," which scores the doomed queen’s story to post-punk bands like Gang of Four and New Order, removes the story from the realm of stultified costume epics, all those stiff, worthy pictures that parents and teachers — and, yes, critics — urged on us because they were "enriching" without ever being pleasurable.
Taylor articulates many of our frustrations with coverage and reviews of the film â€” most notably the spite and schadenfreude directed at Coppola. Yes, yes, we are all resentful of Ms. Coppola’s daddy and fabulousness and the fact that she was not born like normal human beings but instead sprung fully formed from a Malvasia grape, and we all secretly long for Marc Jacobs to name a purse after us. That does not make reviewing one’s impressions of the director as opposed to the film good criticism.
At the Toronto Star, Olivia Ward questions Marie Antoinette’s sudden surge in cultural popularity:
Marie Antoinette’s life draws pity and frustration, in equal measure. Unlike the lives of other royal divas, such as Catherine the Great, Elizabeth I or Catherine de Medici, Marie Antoinette left no personal stamp on history save that of tragic victim. Even Mary Queen of Scots, who also perished under the executioner’s blade, was a tireless political manoeuvre.
During the course of filmmaking, the writer also acted as an Antoinette oracle for some of the actors, such as Mary Nighy and Jason Schwartzman, who crossed the Channel to discuss their characters. Schwartzman plays Marie Antoinette’s husband, Louis XVI, who was considerably portlier than the vulnerable idiosyncratic star of "Rushmore" and "Shopgirl." "I thought, ‘What’s this attractive man doing playing Louis XVI? And also, he’s very well made, but he’s not totally fat… and he kept saying he had to eat, he had to eat," Fraser said. "But what I thought in the film he captured was sort of a nerdy quality. Which is right."
+ Attacking Marie — and Sofia (Newark Star-Ledger)
+ Marie Antoinette: Sacrebleu! – a right royal rumpus (Independent)
+ Pop culture’s unlikely heroine (Toronto Star)
+ What’s all this about conceit and cake? (LA Times)