Farewell, My Queen

Overview

Director Benoît Jacquot adapted Chantal Thomas' bestselling novel examining the genesis of the French Revolution as witnessed from the perspective of the servants closest to Marie Antoinette. July 1789: Versailles. As the people of France rise up against King Louie XVI Xavier Beauvois, the frightened sovereigns begin plotting their escape. Sidonie Laborde Léa Seydoux is the Queen's reader, and as such enjoys the many lavish privileges of being in the monarch's entourage. She sees herself as an extended member of ...
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Overview

Director Benoît Jacquot adapted Chantal Thomas' bestselling novel examining the genesis of the French Revolution as witnessed from the perspective of the servants closest to Marie Antoinette. July 1789: Versailles. As the people of France rise up against King Louie XVI Xavier Beauvois, the frightened sovereigns begin plotting their escape. Sidonie Laborde Léa Seydoux is the Queen's reader, and as such enjoys the many lavish privileges of being in the monarch's entourage. She sees herself as an extended member of the royal family, so when Marie Antoinette Diane Kruger requests that Sidonie don the Queen's clothing and flee in her carriage, the naïve servant views it as a tremendous honor. Meanwhile, the Queen herself plots to escape the palace under the cover of darkness, leaving her most loyal servant at the mercy of the raging mob.
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Special Features

On-set interviews; Interview with Benoit Jacquot; Trailer
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Nathan Southern
The chronicle of ill-fated French monarch Marie Antoinette has been recounted and replayed so often and in so many forms that it practically demands an innovative approach -- or, better yet, fresh themes drawn from the depths of the story -- to transcend its familiarities and reestablish its own vitality. Benoit Jacquot's Farewell, My Queen -- a costume drama set among the Gallic monarchy during the first three days of the French Revolution -- attempts to give this 18th century history lesson a revisionist look with a couple of unusual additions. While conceptually interesting on a surface level, these elements don't fully succeed at elevating this picture from a competent and well-mounted period drama into the masterpiece that Jacquot was obviously hoping for. The movie's first stab at distinction is also its broadest. Per the approach of Chantal Thomas's 2002 source novel, Jacquot avoids placing Antoinette Diane Kruger center stage, and instead filters the tale through the eyes of Sidonie Laborde Léa Seydoux, a young servant girl hired to be the queen's reader. The second unique inclusion in the picture is a lesbian romance between Marie and a gorgeous young Duchess Virginie Ledoyen. The servant perspective could ostensibly be fascinating if Jacquot and his co-scenarist, Gilles Taurant, established the character of Sidonie with adequate depth. Sadly, this doesn't happen. She remains a cipher -- infuriatingly aloof and cryptic. The filmmakers do bring off her obvious affection for the queen, and Seydoux keeps transcending her character's laconic dialogue and enigmatic motivations by giving us little flickers of insight into Sidonie's emotions, such as a beautiful moment when her eyes well up with tears in the queen's presence. But the film tips a hand to its crippling central weakness with one scene where another character actually limns Sidonie's opacity. "You tell us nothing [about you]…after four years [here]…I'm told nothing [about you]. I know nothing about you." To be sure, the picture does draw one strength by assuming Sidonie's perspective -- an unusual one. For a time, Jacquot uses her naiveté and innocence to revel in the confusion and chaos associated with the first several days of the revolution. But even if this onscreen pandemonium is mildly diverting, and fully convincing as docudrama, it can't overcome the obliqueness of the central character. The sapphic components of the picture are even less successful. At first, it's moderately curious to see two sexy women burning for one another beneath garish 18th century European robes and powdered headdresses, and it's hard to deny the chemistry between Kruger and Ledoyen, but the relationship lacks some added element of depth that would put the affair under an audience microscope. This omission represents a serious lapse, because Jacquot has two wonderful opportunities to make the lesbian affair stranger, more complicated, and therefore more interesting -- and neglects to develop either. In particular, he could have taken the time to probe the obvious question of how these two royal Frenchwomen managed to conduct a homosexual affair with the knowledge of the entire court; in one sequence they parade around, embracing each other in full view of hundreds -- which is bizarre enough to practically demand elaboration. It would have also benefitted the film immeasurably if Jacquot had tied external dangers -- such as the encroaching threat of monarchial execution lingering in the air -- to the erotic pull between the women. Not only does this not happen, but Jacquot travels to the other extreme -- he has one of the women sacrificially send the other away, which completely drains the coupling of all sexual tension. To be sure, there is nothing particularly inept in the picture: it's beautifully designed and costumed, and all of the actors perform satisfactorily. Kruger, in fact, is so much more emotionally nuanced and multidimensional than Kirsten Dunst was in the title role of Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette, that you really wish Jacquot had devoted more scenes to the character; she commands all of her sequences. But at this point, when we hear the story of Marie Antoinette, we want something to challenge us, to catch us off guard, to force us to look at these well-tread events in a new way. That doesn't happen here.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/15/2013
  • UPC: 741952738091
  • Original Release: 2011
  • Rating:

  • Source: Cohen Media Group
  • Presentation: Subtitled
  • Time: 1:40:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 13,952

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Diane Kruger Marie Antoinette
Léa Seydoux Sidonie Laborde
Virginie Ledoyen Gabrielle de Polignac
Xavier Beauvois Louis XVI
Noemie Lvovsky Mme. Campan
Michel Robin Jacob Nicolas Moreau
Julie-Marie Parmentier Honorine
Lolita Chammah Louison
Vladimir Consigny Paolo
Dominique Reymond Mme. de Rochereuil
Anne Benoit Rose Bertin
Herve Pierre L'abbé Hérissé
Aladin Reibel Abbé Cornu de la Balivière
Jacques Nolot Monsieur de Jolivet
Jacques Herlin Marquis de la Chesnaye
Martine Chevallier Madame de la Tour du Pin
Jacques Boudet Monsieur de la Tour du Pin
Jean-Chretien Sibertin-Blanc Duc de Polignac
Jean-Marc Stehle Maréchal de Broglie
Serge Renko Marquis de la Chesnaye
Gilles David Le Vicaire Moullet
Pierre Rochefort Valet Antonin
Rodolphe Conge Officier de garde Nationale
Grégory Gadebois Comte de Provence
Francis Leplay Comte d'Artois
Yves Penay Monsieur de Barentin
Sonia Joubert Augustine
Tibo Gustav
Pierre Berriau Huissier 1
Pascal Vannson Huissier 2
Maurice Delaistier Secrétaire violoniste
Emmanuelle Bougerol Fille de cuisine
Véronique Nordey Madame Tournon
Jean-Pierre Guerin Monsieur Janvier
Pascaline Girardot Doublure Madame de la Bargue
Marthe Caufman
Technical Credits
Benoît Jacquot Director, Screenwriter
Luc Barnier Editor
François-Xavier Bazin Cinematographer, Production Manager
Antoinette Boulat Casting
Bruno Coulais Score Composer
Corinne Devaux Choreography
Christian Gasc Costumes/Costume Designer
Olivier Goinard Sound Mixer, Sound/Sound Designer
Jean-Pierre Guerin Producer
Kristina Larsen Producer
Nelly Ollivault Editor
Marie-Jeanne Pascal Production Manager
Valérie Ranchoux Costumes/Costume Designer
Thomas Saignes Associate Producer
Brigitte Taillandier Sound/Sound Designer
Gilles Taurant Screenwriter
Pedro Uriol Producer
Christophe Valette Executive Producer
Francis Wargnier Sound/Sound Designer
Romain Winding Cinematographer
Katia Wyszkop Production Designer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Farewell My Queen
1. Scene 1 [5:53]
2. Scene 2 [3:57]
3. Scene 3 [6:55]
4. Scene 4 [6:31]
5. Scene 5 [7:19]
6. Scene 6 [6:58]
7. Scene 7 [4:19]
8. Scene 8 [7:44]
9. Scene 9 [4:27]
10. Scene 10 [8:56]
11. Scene 11 [6:02]
12. Scene 12 [8:38]
13. Scene 13 [3:35]
14. Scene 14 [5:54]
15. Scene 15 [6:03]
16. Scene 16 [6:01]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Farewell My Queen
   Play Movie
   Scene Selection
   Set-Up
      Audio
         French 5.1 Dolby Digital
         French 2.0 Dolby Stereo
      Subtitles
         English
         Subtitles: None
   Special Features
      Theatrical Trailer
      Benoit Jacquot and Kent Jones Discuss Farewell My Queen (In French with English Subtitles)
      In Interviews (In French with English Subtitles)
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