Outstanding movie. I skipped the French-dubbed versions available in Versailles for the original English at the local Blockbuster when we got back, and thoroughly enjoyed this the other night. The movie was shot at the locations we had just seen, including Versailles, Vaux-le-Vicomte and the Opera Garnier, and included many anecdotes and stories that I'd just read. The modern take on the period (no accents, and colors and fashions are a little pastel for historical accuracy) gives it a real freshness, but the story is as accurate as my reading has thus far gone, which surprised me, and fairly complete in its scope. It tells the full story of the Austrian girl who became the French queen starting with her being sent to France to marry the dauphin (the future Louis XVI) and ends ... well, I'll just say later so as not to spoil when it actually ends the story. (We went to the tiny chapel built over Marie-Antoinette's cell at the Conciergerie, from which she was taken to her execution, as well as a recreation of her cell built nearby, so her fate is not really something that's a subject for humor for me. When you're looking at the actual floor bricks of her cell, it sort of brings home what happened - she was imprisoned with soldiers sharing her cell, her ten year old son was taken away - her other son died three weeks before the Bastille fell - her husband executed, and then she was wheeled out and executed before a cheering mob. Actually being there, it was brutal, inhumane, and as I told Jamie when we left, a good example of why we should never forget how important our rights under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are. The French under the Revolution didn't have either, and they summarily executed over two thousand people without niceties such as due process, counsel, and so forth. I'm not saying ours have always been scrupulously observed - God knows they haven't been from time to time - but you still realize staring at her cell how bad it could be (and I'm not even getting into the state-run torture chambers that were across the hall. It's just being a lawyer - the powerlessness of people against th tyranny of the state just gets to me. One of Shakespeare's characters once said that to successfully gain and keep power the first thing they had to do was to kill all the lawyers. Well, in Revolutionary France, they did. They executed the king, and then they executed the lawyer that tried to defend him).
But I digress. Kirsten Dunst is outstanding, and the entire cast just does a great job. I also liked getting to watch the director giving direction to the cast during the documentary - you rarely see the actual direction in those documentaries, but here you did.