I have currently reverted to Std IV to X when I was a history buff. The thing I would best like to go back to college and study is psychology. But a close second is history. So I love period films.
Unfortunately, I could not watch the entire Marie Antoinette because the pirated VCD got stuck in my player and threatened to not come out. After pressing various buttons on the remote and finally managing to extract the errant CD, I decided not to put it in again. But from what I saw, Kirsten Dunst is stunning as ever, Sophia Copolla does make MA seem like a rock star and I guess it’s good I didn’t get to her head come off. If that was how the film ended but how could it not? If my print wasn’t so bad, I would say that the colours were brilliant too, always a plus for me because you know how I hate black and white.
There was one moment in the film that struck me. MA is handed over from the Austrian side to the French and she is told by a cold lady-in-waiting that here is where her own ladies must leave her as the new bride must bring nothing from her own home. Even her hapless pug is plucked out of her arms and sent away. For the first time, MA’s face puckers but she accepts this and every other ridiculous and isolating custom with equanimity. It makes me think about how I kick and scream at any hint of immersing me in the in-laws culture and I wonder if I would have done a measure of the same in the early 19th C or would I have just acquiesced. Then again, could I, in my current independent-when-convenient avatar, have existed in the 19th C? Would I be an anachronism?
A similar thought struck me when watching The Other Boleyn Girl. In both films, the importance of producing an heir is at the heart of the eventual crises. In this sense the 19th C or even the 15th is not that different from the 21st in which I’m constantly being asked to produce offspring as if the reign is going to be endangered by lack of the fruit of my loins. The difference is that unlike MA who was sent letter after letter from her mother in Austria to get her unwilling husband to consummate their marriage or risk being ousted as queen or Mary and Anne Boleyn who according to the film were paraded under the king’s nose and then convinced to sleep with him in order to better their family’s fortunes, I just end up rolling by eyes and having protected sex.
PS: The Other Boleyn Girl is the film I was referring to in my previous rant. I would give the film a fair rating because I’ve read an awesome book called ‘The Lady Elizabeth’ the first work of fiction by a well-regarded historian Alison Weir and I thought the film could have developed the political and social tensions that led Henry to choose Anne and break with the Catholic church more fully instead of focussing on the potboiler stuff. Admittedly that was the thesis of the book the film is based on but I think they skipped over some important details. I also thought that there was more chemistry between Mary (Scarlett Johannson) and Henry (Eric Bana) than the latter than Anne (Natalie Portman) who is supposed to have seduced him into trumping up reasons for annulling his marriage to Katherine of Aragon.
Nevertheless, I would say go watch it if you’re a girl or gay simply because of Eric Bana (he’s the hottie who stole the show from Brad Pitt in Troy). If you ever imagined Henry as a fat old man with a beard and a crazy glint in his eye (which was probably what he looked like) the film helps you reimagine him as swashbuckling, young hotshot.
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