Opening June 26, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is A Little Chaos, actor Alan Rickman’s second directorial feature after 1997’s The Winter Guest. Set in 17th Century France, it stars the ever-glorious Kate Winslet as Sabine De Barra, a landscape gardener chosen to help design and construct the immense gardens of King Louis XIV’s palace at Versaille. It’s a gargantuan task that brings her up against famed gardener Andre Le Notre (Matthias Schoenaerts) and, while the two initially butt heads amongst the hellebores, a shared passion for the natural world soon sees attraction blossom. Read on…
Rickman’s film, which he co-wrote with Jeremy Brock and Alison Deegan, may be a gentle affair, but it makes a big impact in terms of its gender politics. Winslet is wonderful as De Barra, a beautiful, plain-spoken woman quite able to hold her own in a male-dominated profession (and overwhelmingly patriarchal society) and unafraid to get down in the dirt and muck to make her own dreams happen. While romance may bloom with Le Notre, the focus of the narrative is firmly on her own abilities, and her determination to root herself, and her ideas, into the fabric of this astonishing garden – despite the resistance she faces along the way.
Elsewhere, Winslet is supported by an excellent cast, most notably Schoenaerts as the dashing Le Notre, RIckman himself as the fabulously OTT Louis XIV and Stanley Tucci as the hilarious, scene-stealing Philippe, Duc d’Orleans. With its colourful characters, sumptuous scenery and a screenplay that’s both funny and intelligent, A Little Chaos is a summer delight.
AWFJ Movie of the Week Panelists Comments:
MaryAnn Johanson: My pick is A Little Chaos, a wonderful historical fantasy not about magic or dragons but a competent professional woman garden designer in 17th-century Paris. Read more>>>
Nell Minow: A Little Chaos is an uneven but beautifully performed story of an independent, creative woman and the garden she dreamed up for a king.
Jennifer Merin: A Little Chaos sumptuously celebrates a fictitious 17th-century woman’s achievements as a landscape gardener at Versailles. Kate Winslet flowers as Sabine, and the story is engaging. Would it were true….
Title: A Little Chaos
Director: Alan Rickman
Release Date: June 26, 2015
Running Time: 117 minutes
Shooting Location(s): England
Principal Cast: Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet, Stanley Tucci, Matthias Schoenaerts
Screenwriter: Alan Rickman, Jeremy Brock, Alison Deegan
Production Company: BBC Films, Bureau, The, K. JAM Media (developed in association with), Lionsgate, Lipsync Productions, Potboiler Productions
Distributor: Focus World
AWFJ Movie of the Week Panel Members: Nikki Baughan, Anne Brodie, Pam Grady, Leba Hertz, MaryAnn Johanson, Loren King, Cate Marquis, Katherine McLaughlin, Jennifer Merin, Nell Minow, Perri Nemiroff, Kristy Puchko, Sheila Roberts, Liz Whittemore, Jeanne Wolf.
Other Movies Opening the Week of June 22-26, 2015:
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Escobar: Paradise Lost
A Little Chaos
The Little Death
A Murder in the Park
3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets
The Midnight Swim
Edited by Sandra Kraisirideja, AWFJ.org Associate Editor