Diane Kruger still has her head on straight in Farewell, My Queen.
FAREWELL, MY QUEEN (Benoît Jacquot). 100 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (August 24). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNNN
Costume dramas are rarely as fleet, alluring and engrossing as Farewell, My Queen, Benoît Jacquot's fresh take on Marie Antoinette (Diane Kruger) and the pivotal days of the French Revolution.
The film is told from the perspective of Sidonie Laborde (Léa Seydoux), a dutiful lady-in-waiting who may be one of the people but is willfully enslaved to royalty. She is Marie Antoinette's reader, reciting verses from novels and fashion magazines at the queen's whim. Citizens may be storming the Bastille, but Sidonie's primary function is to make sure the queen is up to date on what's chic. Physical jeopardy is inconceivable to the head of state who, as history dictates, will eventually lose her head.
Sidonie races between's the queen's chambers, where ignorance is bliss, and the servants' quarters, where blind panic reigns. Jacquot rarely shows disdain for the masters and servants, who are filtered through Sidonie's watchful eye, humanized by her compassion.
He leaves judgment to the audience, who can debate class, celebrity culture, sexual morals and voyeurism, themes woven into a film as layered as the elegant attire on display.