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August 3rd, 2012

Movie Review - Farewell, My Queen

(Dying to go see Total Rekall but hubby is on a cut over! Wahhhh!)

Farewell, My Queen (Le Adieux à la Reine)

Starring: Léa Seydoux, Diane Kruger, Virginie Ledoyen, Noémi Levovsky, Michael Robin, Julie-Marie Parmentier, Lolita Chammah, Vladimir Cosigny, Xavier Beauvois, and more.

Directed by: Benoît Jacquot Scenario by: Benoît Jacquot and Gilles Taurand Based on the Novel by: Chantal Thomas Cinematography by: Romain Windig Original Music by: Bruno Coulais

Premise: A young girl, Sidonie Laborde, who is a reader for the Queen, has her ordered life shaken on the days leading up to the French Revolution. (Rated R) (Subtitled)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Several great performances are woven through this strangely distant film. Léa Seydoux easily portrayed the young woman in love with her queen and clearly radiated the character's feelings of being somehow above others due to her job. Diane Kruger did a great job as Marie Antoinette and skilfully reflected her changing moods and mercurial whims. Noémi Levovsky's portrayal of Mme Campan was outstanding in its understatement as the grand conductor whose job was to keep the queen's life running smoothly.

2) Plot/Story - Neutral: I have not read Mr. Thomas' novel, so can't compare it to the film. That being said, the story in the film moved along slowly with only tiny glimpses into different aspects of the life of those serving the royal household, yet because these glimpses are so tiny, a lot of the context or depth of learning about their lives and why they are the way they are is lost, which in the end hurts the understanding by the audience of how disturbing the changes coming to the lives they've been used to are. Worse, it makes it hard for the audience to really connect with any of them.

As Mme Campan states to Sidonie, she has no friends in Versailles. It is Campan character and not Sidonie's character which encapsulates and shows the most information regarding life at the palace. The support personnel's sole function being to serve while at the same time jockeying for position among themselves.

The main recurring theme of the film is unrequited love - Sidonie's blinding love for the queen, the queen's distracting and somewhat self-destructing love for Gabrielle de Polignac. Yet even this is not understood until deep into the movie.

3) Locations/Cinematography: Because the film follows the life of the queen's reader, most locations of the film are not in the luxurious rooms of the palace of Versailles. Rather, the audience gets to experience the narrow, falling apart, and spartan spaces of the servants and those of the aristocracy not high on the list of the favored.

Several unusual styles get used in the film, the camera following Sidonie from just over her shoulder as the pushes through crowded hallways or runs down deserted corridors.

Dead rats made several appearances, but it was hard to tell if they was a commentary on the difficulties of keeping rodents away even at the palace or the rotten nature of the politics of the time.

4) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: From peasant garb to the queen's gowns, great attention was paid to make the costumes proper for the period. And as was normal then too, only the most wealthy actually got to put on different clothes on a daily basis.

The only point that seemed odd was the lack of makeup. Sidonie and the other servants wore pretty much none. But aside from one scene where the king had just finished a consultation with his counselors which his wife attended, the white powder makeup was never really seen. And even in this particular instance it was very lightly worn.

Conclusion: A fascinating look at a different group of people than those usually depicted for the time right before the French Revolution. Yet one lacking in a real plot for audiences to become vested in.

Rating: 3 out of 5 (No Hubby' Rating this week)  

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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