Copula gives her audience another perspective to Marie Antoinette, a side hat influences viewers to sympathize with the ill-fated queen. The film makes a purpose to show the innocence in Marie Antoinette when she first came to France. Copula also does a wonderful job at explaining the transitions in her life and the details of events that happen up until the death of Marie Antoinette, which is not actually shown in the film.
From the treatment she receives by the French palace, to her relationship with her husband, to her fashion and spending habits, and finally to the way the king and the queen deal with the problems that were arising in France. Although many easterners may already know about the origins of Marie Antoinette, many do not know all of the details that contribute to her reputation she has earned. Becoming part of the French monarchy changed her lifestyle and personality drastically. She grew up as the fifteenth daughter of the Holy Roman emperor and empress (Sampan 8).
At the young age of fourteen, Antoinette is shipped off to France to marry the future King Louis XVI to fortify the Austria and France alliance. Before leaving for France, according to Saint-Amanda and Gage, Antoinette is “packaged as a doll, carefully prepared for the enjoyment of the French Court” (388). Once Antoinette marries, Louis WI, she is expected to do many things as a queen, such as produce heirs to the throne, and put an Austrian influence over the king; all of which she is incapable of doing so for some time. Instead of gaining the approval of the French people, she quickly angers the entire country.
Her greed, gambling, and drinking habits are contributors to France’s debt during the French Revolution, where many are living in poverty. Her relationship and commitment to her husband are also reasons why so many find it easy to ridicule her. During the 18th Century, it was common for kings to perform acts of polygon, but for a queen o be unfaithful was rare. Antoinette was not faithful to her husband, which does not help her popularity. A book written about Antoinette, written by Antonio Fraser is subtitled as “The Journey/’ because her life has a series of transitions as she advances and develops as a woman.
She goes through stages of teenage years, marriage, sexual relationships, and motherhood (Ferries 99). Although many demonic the queen, one must take a closer look into the personal life of Marie Antoinette to fully understand why she acted the way she did during her time in the French monarchy, and Sophie Copula’s film about Antoinette allows one to do so. The film begins with Marie Antoinette leaving Austria with her entourage of friends and her pug going in a carriage off to France. When she first arrives, she is stripped of everything she previously owned, including her beloved pug, Mops.
When reading about her life biography, the details about her arrival to France are exact to detail, even the information about her pug (Thurman 4). Assumptions for why Copula does this is possibly to keep the film accurate to history and to show a sense of sympathy for her because she is being taken away from everything she has grown up among. The moment she was dressed by the French she becomes property of France and no longer of Austria. Marie Antoinette has to become accustomed to her new life in the palace.
Everyday she is woken up and dressed by her attendant of the highest rank and then sent to eat her meals with her husband where enormous amounts of food surround them (Binghamton 4). The film does a good job of creating an image of their daily lifestyles to be similar to what it resembles. Author Stefan Aweigh says, “In this daily routine, there was little place left for amusements, though it was for these, above all, her impatient heart yearned” of Antoinette life in he French palace (37). The film also portrays her relationship with her husband, a distant one, similar to how it is in real life (Losable 1).
Author, Stefan Aweigh goes into further detail on Louis WI claiming that his personality is extremely dull, “No muse and no god could make his torpid senses vibrate”(78). This could explain the distant relationship between him and Antoinette. Many believe that opposite personalities make a great match; in the case of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI this common idea is proven false. One of the main reasons Marie Antoinette was arranged to marry Louis XVI is o create heirs to their throne and to stabilize the alliance between France and Austria.
However, influenced by wealth and power, Antoinette does not stick to the goals she has when first coming to France. Her marriage with Louis XVI is not what many predicted it to be like. In the film, Copula makes their relationship seem almost nonexistent Every night they are expected to sleep together but Louis somehow always leaves Antoinette disappointed. She never shows emotions of anger or attempts to discuss his sexual unresponsiveness, which shows how Copula wants to portray her character s kind person. Before Antoinette becomes pregnant, her younger sister gives birth to her first child, which devastates Antoinette.
The film shows a scene of Antoinette trying to keep calm regarding the whole situation but once she is behind closed doors she breaks down and her true emotions seep through. Copula follows the scene by showing Antoinette with her friends trying on countless pairs of shoes, which ambiguously explains how she copes with her sadness. As a viewer, one feels pity for her and can understand why she enjoys fashion. Louis XVI is more interested in hunting and being outdoors Han having an intimate relationship with the queen (Losable 1).
Authors Ferris and Young wrote about the film, “If Louis finds an outlet for his masculine energies in swordplay and stag hunting, Marie Antoinette finds the feminine counterparts in coiffures, clothing and cakes” (106). Antoinette is continuously humiliated by having her bed sheets checked every morning by servants searching for blood, and then reporting news to every court in Europe. Everyone around her places emphasis on the fact that she is still a virgin and the fact that her and Louis XVI still have not produced any children (Thurman 2).
These details were not put into the film, however, Copula still makes it clear that her virginity is an internal struggle for Antoinette, by placing countless scenes in the film of Antoinette walking alone through the palace hearing voices all speaking negative words about her and her virginity. Author Channel Thomas writes in defense of Antoinette, “One must bear in mind just how difficult her position was… Marie Antoinette had no choice in her relations with Louis XVI. She had to make an ally of him, and she did everything in her power to succeed” (38).
It took seven years of their marriage to finally produce a child. Once she gives birth to her first child, she takes on the role of a mother and changes her lifestyle completely. Her extravagant dresses change to simple white dresses and her hair is simple, the way it is before she comes to France. Copula makes a dramatic change in Antoinette wardrobe after giving birth, to symbolize the transformation from a teenager to a mother (Ferries 109). However, before her motherhood begins, her marriage to Louis XVI is barely existent.
Antoinette is drawn away from her husband and sought towards finding other things to fulfill her emptiness. Antoinette used fashion as a way of creating her image as the Queen of France. Along with fashion, she turns to gambling, drinking and gardening as ways to find happiness. The film has extravagant costumes that stress the importance of fashion in Antoinette life. The people of France are angered by her spending habits, however, statistics show that she did not spend more or less than any other royal figure of that time (Fraser 37).
Copula has said that, ‘You’re considered superficial and silly if you’re interested in fashion… But I think you can be substantial and still be interested in frivolity” (Ferries 104). This quote spoken by Copula herself explains why she tempts to portray Antoinette as a guiltless human in the film. Copula clearly enjoys fashion herself and believes it is unfair for Antoinette to be demonic for her passion for fashion. The costumes that are worn by the characters in the film are not replications of what is worn by the French monarchs in the 1 8th century.
Instead, they are what Copula thinks suits the overall theme and her interpretation of the film. The theme that Copula creates for the film is pink and youth, making pink Antoinette signature color. Even when the queen and her friends are not dressed in pink, they are reseed in pastel colors matching the candy and cake they are consuming throughout the film. However, the pink theme is not historically accurate (104). Copula could have chosen the pastel color and candy and cake theme as an underlying message of the famous quote supposedly said by Antoinette herself, “let them eat cake”.
Not only is Antoinette known for her extravagant dresses, she is also recognized by her hairstyle, which is called the pouf. Each creation of her hair goes with the theme of her outfit and some are about a yard high. Her hair is padded with wool, cloth horsehair, and gauze, and they interweave her actual hair with the fake hair (Thurman 5). As the film progresses, Copula uses Antoinette hairstyles as a symbol to represent a personality shift, from an innocent teenager to a narcissistic queen, by designing her hairstyles to be more extravagant each day from the previous.
Copula makes sure to include scenes that explain Antoinette shoe fetish. It is said that she would buy TV’0 pairs of shoes a week (Workaday 1). Spending her country into debt is a core factor in France’s hatred for the queen. The film makes it unmistakably simple to see that Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette ere not ready or suitable for the positions they are to take on as King and Queen of France. Antoinette has no interest in politics and she finds difficulty in performing tasks such as reading and writing (“Marie Antoinette” 1).
Copula makes a point to keep Antoinette away from any scenes in the film containing politics. Louis XVI has a passive attitude, which makes it difficult for him to make decisions concerning the country (Thurman 2). Not only is Louis’ XVI personality inapt for a king, he also lacks experience; given his grandfather, Louis XV, has never educated him on the governing of France (Lever 57). Copula shows Louis XVI in the film looking dumbfounded among the other courtiers when discussing foreign affairs, in one situation, deciding whether France should aid to the Americans to anger the British.
He makes many mistakes when he is a king; one of them is allowing Antoinette to spend limitless amounts Of money. Copula shows a scene in the film where Antoinette brother comes to France passing a long a message from her mother to stop spending copious amounts of money. While Copula is showing the innocence of Antoinette, she does not fail to ignore the negative facts that lead to her execution. The “Diamond Necklace affair’ is a famous scandal that was plotted against Antoinette in hopes to humiliate her.
The incident gains her unfair resentment by the people of France (Saint-Amanda 391 The diamond necklace is originally made for Louis XV mistress, a courtesan named Madame du Barry, however Louis XV dies of small pox and the courtesan is banished from the court (Thurman 3). Jeanne De La Motto was the one who plotted the whole case against Antoinette to gain wealth and power. She uses a young prostitute named Nicole El Guy to impersonate Antoinette and La Motto forges Antoinette signature buying he necklace in secrecy and makes a deal to pay for the necklace in installments.
La Motto takes apart the necklace and sells the diamonds individually. When it comes time to make a payment, Antoinette says she never received a necklace. The scandal is brought to court and La Motto and the prostitute is arrested. Even though Antoinette is innocent, the dishonor does not gain her popularity among the French (Saint-Amanda 392). Copula has an interesting way of incorporating the scandal without actually putting the affair in the film. There is a scene in the film, representing a time in the sat, where Antoinette is sitting in a bathtub wearing a diamond necklace and she speaks the words, “Let them eat cake”.
Copula cleverly utilizes this scene by incorporating Antoinette most famous line and scandal together. The following scene is Antoinette with her friends where she claims she never spoke those words (Ferries 107). Ferries and Young make an interesting point on Copula’s scene saying, ” Copula reveals an underlying irony: Marie Antoinette and her friends appear in the “real-life” scene completely cut off from the troubled outside world, indulging in a lifestyle of luxurious leisure” (107).
Although Copula’s goal is to put Antoinette in the best light possible, she does not leave out details from history that contribute to the queen’s unpopularity. Marie Antoinette does not bother to consider the publics opinion on her character, and the passionately unpleasant words written about her are incomprehensible and of no concern to her (Thomas 38). Saint- Amanda and Gage make a good point when saying, “What Marie Antoinette brought to the court and what was to make her an ideal target for attack was precisely this exile from etiquette, this distancing from politics, effecting a radical “denationalization” of the regime” (390).
She earns herself the name, “the Queen of Glamour” by spending less time at the palace and more time with her friends at parties where they drink and gamble. Copula shows countless nights of Antoinette out with her friends, who contain as much intelligence of their surroundings as she does. “Marie Antoinette turned the king’s parade into a giant masquerade”, Saint-Amanda and Gage speak of the Way Antoinette changes things in the French palace (391). Where LOUis WI lacks in sexual responsiveness, Antoinette finds it elsewhere.
Copula only shows one incident of Antoinette act of adultery, however it has been said hat Antoinette became sexually involved with almost everyone she came in contact with, including brother-in-laws, female friends, and even her own children (Ferries 109). The most rumored affair Antoinette has is with Count Axel Person, a Swedish officer who fought with the French forces in America (Thurman 3). The Count offers Antoinette what Louis XVI cannot, love and romantic devotion (Ferries 108). Copula put this affair in the film, which may seem baffling, given her purpose of vindicating Antoinette.
However, when Antoinette is forced to sacrifice her true love for the good of her family, viewers feel sympathy for her. Although Copula creates a sense of sympathy for Antoinette, her execution that follows her comes as no surprise to viewers. Copula ends the film on a more serious note; however, she does not include her actual death or the trials leading up to her death. The film ends when Antoinettes life of luxury ends, which is determined by the angry people of France. Copula makes it clear that Antoinette is no longer focusing on materialistic objects and is accepting the destiny that the people of France wish upon her.
The last scene in the film is with Antoinette and Louis XVI leaving Versailles to face what everyone knows lies ahead of the couple. Antoinette remains calm up until the end of the film. Copula does not include the actual death of Antoinette or Louis XVI because the whole theme of the film is symbolized by characteristics of youth and happiness, and adding in a gruesome death at the end of the film would change the theme she is trying to get across to viewers. When making the film, it is clear that Copula made a point to present the story of Marie Antoinette to a younger audience.
Ferries and Young say, ” Copula’s film employ typical strategies of chick culture to stress audience identification with the young Marie Antoinette” (99). Copula’s agenda for the film is for viewers to sympathize with Antoinette and by creating a young, innocent character; it allows people to do so. One can infer from Copula’s interpretation of the film, that Marie Antoinette is just like any ordinary person (101). The most popular view of Marie Antoinette is a heartless queen, but Copula wants people to think of her as “An ordinary girl caught up in extraordinary circumstances”, according to Ferris and Young (101).
While Copula keeps most details in her film accurate to history, she makes a few twists and turns to generate a creative interpretation of Marie Antoinette biography. The characters in the film are always eating sweets giving the whole movie a youthful image. Copula makes an interesting choice of music selection for the film. Although the film takes place in the 18th century, Copula brings another aspect of youth to the film by using current pop music. One of the songs played in the film is “I want Candy’ which reinforces Antoinette youth and innocence.
The film takes place in France, which one would assume the characters would have French accents. However, Copula makes another twist, by making sure all of the characters have American accents. Copula could have done this to add a odder aspect to the film. Others could think it is pure ignorance on Copula’s part. Furthermore, inferring that Americans have no respect for people in other countries. The film would be more historically accurate for viewers if the characters had French accents, however it would also lose part of its modernism.
In my opinion, Copula did a fantastic at recreating a historical figure and giving audiences a different perspective on that figure. Copula keeps her film for the most part historically accurate. The things she changes from history are for the sole purpose of giving the film a modern edge, in hopes to connect with her audience more. Found most of her historical inaccuracies acceptable as a viewer. However, people who are not Americans may have a different opinion. The accents the characters have are not accurate, and people from France could be offended when watching the film. Live Copula makes this change in the film, not to offend her audience, but to match with her modern interpretation of Antoinette life. Copula’s costume ideas for Antoinette and her friends are not accurate to what woman wore in the 18th century, however, believe this alteration adds to the youthful vibe of the film. The youth that Copula incorporates into the film glossaries Antoinette and draws me to favoring her over the people of France. Although Copula manipulates the film to support Antoinette, I would have added or changed a few details in attempt to create a stronger emotional appeal to the audience.
One of these changes is the American accents’ the characters have. Fifth characters had French accents, believe the film would be more accurate. The accents have no influence on my perspective of Antoinette. If Copula’s reason for changing the accents was to change people’s perspective on Antoinette, then her attempt failed. However, f she is doing it to add a modern edge, the change works. Copula cleverly adds in the “diamond necklace affair” into the film, however, one who has no background information on Antoinette would never understand how she incorporates the event in the film.
Antoinette is actually innocent in the historical event, which is why believe adding the affair would have given the audience another reason to sympathize with her. During the 18th Century, when Antoinette is part of the French monarchy, she is viewed as pure disorder, a misfit, a sexual monster, and a selfish individual. The French illustrate their hatred towards Antoinette in many ways. They demonstrated it in one case by assassinating a good friend of hers, raping and cutting her open. Then by bringing the body to the queen, explaining that they violently killed her because her actions resemble that of Antoinette (Saint-Amanda 392).
Not until after her execution is Antoinette seen as anything other than an evil queen (Chrysalis 2). Saint-Amanda and Gage say, “Marie Antoinette fulfils her destiny as fascism by undergoing what Leo Spirits called entraining, “a movement by which a positive quality is converted into a negative quality, a greatness into vileness'”‘(391 ). This quote explains the life f Antoinette perfectly, because anything she does, good or bad, is perceived negatively. After her death, people view Antoinette as a victim who has been treated unfairly. She goes through many transitions and is required to adapt to her new expected roles overnight.
During the 18th century, people thought she was incapable of doing anything other than spending money, but now people look at Antoinette life and realize she is only human, which is what Copula wants her audience to take away from her film. Ferries and Young make a valid argument In defense of Antoinette saying, “As consumers, we’re n entire nation of Marie Antoinette” (98). This quote legitimates one of Copula’s main message’s she wants people to get from her film; all humans act in selfish ways at times and Antoinette is an easy target to take the blame for France’s problems.
Ferris and Young explain, “Unfortunately for the ill- fated Marie Antoinette, however, the Age of Revolution provided a disastrously inappropriate setting for her performance. In our age of consumption, refashioned in popular culture as a well-intentioned but misunderstood young wife and mother, she has found a more appreciative hired-wave audience, who clearly would not condemn her for having a great sense of style and the means to pull it off'(1 12).