Hollywood Elsewhere's Jeffrey Wells, who hates Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette with a passion, has an interesting link up this morning to a fascinating Camille Paglia piece on how Marie Antoinette is back in vogue these days, with a PBS documentary (with subtitles, no less!) set to air September 25, three books in the last year alone -- two works of historical fiction, The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette by Carolly Erickson and Abundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette, by Seta Jeter Naslund, plus a scholarly work titled Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution, by Caroline Weber. All this, of course, leads up to Coppola's exploration of "teenagers in the French court," Marie Antoinette, starring Kirsten Dunst as the young queen, which opens October 20.
I haven't yet seen the film (Cinematical's James Rocchi reviewed it during Cannes), but I'm intrigued by both the resurgence of scholarly interest in Marie Antoinette as a historical figur and how that interest might reflect our own current state of political affairs, as well as the virulence of the backlash against the film (which reportedly was booed at Cannes) by some critics. The film is currently sitting at 63% on the Rotten Tomato meter, but that could change as the film screens more widely. Leading up to finally seeing Coppola's take on the queen, and Kirsten Dunst's performance in the lead role, I'm now determined to watch the documentary next week to school myself a bit on the historical side of things before seeing the fictional view. It will be interesting to see how audiences take the film. Once the film opens, we'll look to Cinematical readers to share their views of the film. If you've already seen it at a fest, though, feel free to weigh in now. Is is as bad as Wells seems to think? Or has Coppola made deliberately shallow film in order to reflect our own shallowness?