Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I went to see the movie "Marie Antoinette" the other day. Though the acting was underwhelming, what a delectable confection of a movie it was! The visuals were breathtaking – the palaces, the carriages, the clothes, the food, the pomp and pageantry of society in a French court.

It was the story of Marie Antoinette, a fourteen-year-old Austrian princess being swept into a new life as the wife of the gentle future king Louis XVI. And what a life it was!

Every detail was dictated by strict protocol and etiquettes, conducted with exacting ceremony, all of it audienced by a slew of courtly attendants. Even her lavishly formal meals. Even the marriage bed! Even the birth of her babies. But that didn't stop her (and, to be fair, anyone else) from enjoying the gossip, the intrigues, the flirtations, the revelry and carousing that took place nonstop at Versailles and elsewhere at royal residences.

The furnishings and draperies were sumptuous, the clothes were extravagant, and Marie Antoinette was particular about shoes. (Who isn't?) Apparently director Sofia Coppola inserted a pair of purple sneakers into a scene showing Marie Antoinette's extensive wardrobe of Manolo Blahnik-inspired footwear. I didn't see this, though. A movie reviewer mentioned it.

In the end Queen Marie Antoinette is wrongly accused of bankrupting the empire and inciting the French Revolution, but we are spared any scenes of the guillotine.

It was a delicious way to spend an afternoon. On the way home, I stopped at a bookstore and bought a biography of Marie Antoinette.

Added to my list of 100 Things To Do Before I Die - Visit Versailles.

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