Sofia Coppolas The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation delved into themes of isolation but the disconnection in Barbie Goes to Versailles is sheer folly. The lonely, extravagant young Queen does little but acquire clothes and consume sweet confections. Clothes I can understand. Shes royalty. But eating all those delicious pastries, bon-bons and truffles and not gaining an ounce thats unforgivable.
Ah, the story. It should be dramatic but isnt. To solidify an international alliance, 14 year-old Austrian archduchess Marie Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst) is dispatched to wed the teenage dauphin (Jason Schwartzman) who will became Louis XVI. But try as she might, for seven years, Marie cant get her mumbling, bumbling husband to consummate their marriage until he gets some sex education from Maries brother, the Emperor of Austria. Then children arrive, along with the Revolution. But dont expect to see heads roll on the guillotine the plot peters out before that.
Coppola draws a satiric parallel between coddled Maries delirious decadence and the excesses of todays pampered, partying pop princesses like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. Perhaps thats why she serves discordant rock music like Bow Wow Wows I Want Candy to accompany the costume drama and calorie consumption.
Sumptuously photographed by Lance Accord at Versailles and the Petit Trianon, its visually stunning, capturing the glittering, pompous opulence and Champagne-soaked gossip of the French court. But Kirsten Dunst and Jason Schwartzman are vacuous, expressionless ciphers in a baroque tableau – with caricature-like support from Judy Davis, Rip Torn, Asia Argento, Marianne Faithfull, Rose Byrne, Molly Shannon, Shirley Henderson and Jamie Dornan. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Marie Antoinette is a lavish, fashionable 5 if youre fascinated by intricate shoes and towering coiffures.