Farewell, My Queen (2012)

Farewell, My Queen (2012) – One of the most interesting periods of history that I know next to nothing about is the French revolution. Now I’ll be the first to tell you that fiction is the most horrible place you could possibly get a history lesson, but every movie I’ve seen set during or shortly after the French Revolution has been fascinating. Farewell, My Queen is about Sidonie (Léa Seydoux), a reader for Marie Antoinette (Diane Kruger). The French monarchy is doomed but none of them seem to know it yet. For the start of the movie, there are rumblings of rebels and troublemakers but no one seems to take it seriously until the storming of the Bastille. Said storming is not depicted in the film, which opts instead to show how the information slowly trickles into Versailles and how everyone, from the royalty to the servants reacts to it. Tensions rise steadily and the film establishes a great sense of approaching danger (helped by the fact that even the historically ignorant know what happened to Marie Antoinette). When some begin to abandon the royals and Versailles, Sidonie remains ever loyal to the Queen. Seydoux is quite good in the role, especially conveying that the type of love Sidonie has for Marie goes beyond loyalty to a monarch. It is Kruger, the German actress from Troy and Inglourious Basterds, who carries the film. You could see how she could provoke both love and contempt from differing sorts of people. The recreation is the period is done beautifully and director Benoît Jacquot manages the tone of the film very well. Worth checking out for fans of historical character studies.

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