Farewell My Queen (2012) R

The story of Marie Antoinette is tackled for the umpteenth time, but this time it is told from the viewpoint of her servant.  The devoted young woman is a reader for the queen.  I know what you’re thinking, “Didn’t the Queen know how to read?” Yes, she did, but this charming lady was chosen for her entertaining style knowledge of literature.  This is apparently a common pastime of bored elites in France if one goes by this movie and the earlier film, The Reader.  Nonetheless, the lady in waiting is present at Versailles at the time of the Storming of the Bastille and during the anxious days when the royal couple is deciding whether or not to flee the country.  She is witness to the various reactions of the nobles and courtiers as their pretty little world falls apart.  Some go on genuflecting and sucking up to the monarchs, some try to grab a little finery for themselves amidst the chaos and others, just stand around wringing their hands saying, “What do we do now?”  When the revolutionaries announce their order of show for the guillotine, surprisingly few of them pack their things and clear out of the country as fast as they can, like some people did in reality.  The story is an interesting angle on the French Revolution and the acting is good.  My only complaint is that very much is made of a lesbian relationship between Marie Antoinette and one of the noble ladies.  Marie did spend a lot of time staging theatrical productions with her favorites, but I have never heard of any concrete evidence for this conjecture.  The sexual content of the movie makes it objectionable for young people, but there is only a little violence depicted considering the subject matter.  The subtitles make it difficult to follow and students would have trouble understanding the events.  Therefore, I don’t recommend its use in a classroom.

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