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'Marie Antoinette' is a (Post) Modern Revolution

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Of all the female characters that populate Sofia Coppola’s films, the obvious stand-in for the director herself is Scarlett Johansson’s Charlotte in Lost in Translation. But what if Coppola’s true reflection is to be found in a gilded, Versailles mirror instead? After all, if you want to fashion a figure of (cinema) royalty, whose lavish and privileged lifestyle was heavily scrutinized and perhaps even stifled by expectation, then Marie Antoinette isn’t a bad model.

After the near-unanimous adoration for 2003’s Lost in Translation, the dismissive reaction to Coppola’s 2006 follow-up, Marie Antoinette, seemed unjust. And just over a decade on, the film appears to be undergoing some serious critical re-evaluation. It’s now being viewed as a work about shallowness and frivolity, rather than being infected with such traits. It’s a highly (post) modern take on an old warhorse of cinema: the historical epic. And while Coppola used the real boudoirs and ballrooms of Versailles as her own larger-than-life dollhouse, she does much more than just play dress up. Underneath all the designer dresses and shoes, parties and feasts, there’s a young woman, out of her depth and struggling to locate herself — and a director who knows exactly how to find her.

Here at Fandor, we have Sofia Coppola content like “Marie Antoinette” has new wave and post-punk bops. Check out Color By Numbers: Sofia Coppola, Sofia Coppola’s Gilded Cages, and Sofia Coppola’s Favorite Films. And don’t miss Fandor’s latest, like Jeff Goldblum is the Internet’s Chosen One, and What “The Right Stuff” Got Right.

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