Benoît Jacquot’s nimble, lush adaptation of Chantal Thomas’s 2003 novel about the chaos at Versailles on the eve of the 1789 revolution is told not through the vantage point of the monarchs but through the eyes of Sidonie, the besotted reader to Marie Antoinette. Compressed to four tumultuous days (July 14–17) and taking place almost entirely within the actual royal palace, Farewell, My Queen tracks its protagonist relentlessly: The camera is often positioned just a few inches behind Sidonie as she scrambles down corridors, sometimes tripping, as she tries to make sense of the rumors she hears among other courtiers and rushes to read a few pages of Rousseau to Her Majesty. “Your love of the queen makes you blind to her caprice,” one of Louis XVI’s historians tells Sidonie—and the pleasure of Jacquot’s film is in watching various strains of discreet yet heated, deluded passionate attachment performed. Itchy Sidonie may thrill, however demurely, to the queen’s applying rosewood water to her mosquito bites, but she will seethe in silent jealousy as she watches, unnoticed, Marie Antoinette interlace fingers with and coo over her most prized pet, Gabrielle de Polignac—who makes la reine lose her mind before she loses her head.
“Benoit Jacquot is without equal when it comes to transforming this small Machiavellian theatre of desire and digression into a palpitating and graceful stage show; this time he successfully achieves to project this small theatre into chaotic and sweeping scenery. The outcome is dramatic.”
Jean-Marc Lalanne, Les Inrockuptibles
Benoît Jacquot, Gilles Taurand.
Based on the novel Les Adieux à la Reine by Chantal Thomas.
Marie Antoinette: Diane Kruger
Agathe-Sidonie Laborde: Léa Seydoux
Gabrielle de Polignac: Virginie Ledoyen
Louis XVI: Xavier Beauvois
Best Film – Prix Louis Delluc (2012)
RUNNING TIME 100′
PRODUCTION France, Spain 2012
RATING Rated R
FORMAT(S) 35, DVD
Swank Motion Pictures