FAREWELL, MY QUEEN Send This Review to a Friend
"Farewell, My Queen,” directed by Benoit Jacquot, is a beautifully filmed historical saga with a twist. The personal life of Marie Antoinette, including a lesbian affair, is inspected against a background of frenzy in the royal court when the revolution has erupted and the royals must try to flee for their lives while everything is rapidly collapsing about them. The characterizations are compelling and colorful, illuminated by excellent acting and the elaborate surroundings with breathtaking use of Versailles.
A highlight is the performance by Diane Kruger as the embattled queen, imperious yet vulnerable, smitten by her affection for another woman, and cruelly manipulative in her scheme to save the life of her secret lover, Gabrielle de Polignac, sensuously played by Virginie Ledoyen. Another striking central performance is given by Léa Seydoux as Sidonie, the queen’s lady in waiting, who has her own agenda. She carries out her duty of reading books and articles to the queen, whom she admires, but also is filled with envy for the upper class. The perspective we get is largely through Sidonie’s eyes.
When the queen asks her to pretend to be the object of the queen’s affection in fleeing from Paris, thereby putting her life in danger, Sidonie relishes the idea of posing as the elite Gabrielle despite the peril. The satisfied look in her eyes reveals her inner pleasure.
The yarn is spun with expertise and there is great pleasure in looking at this behind-the-scenes take on those imperiled the French Revolution The cinematography is sumptuous, with Versailles as the location, and other places used to represent Versailles when all of the shooting could not be accommodated there. “Farewell, My Queen” appeals to the eye and to one’s interest in a well-acted, engrossing story. The screenplay was written by Gilles Taurand and Jacquot based on the novel by Chantal Thomas. A Cohen Media Group release.