She has been portrayed on film by some of the most famous actresses of their times, from Norma Shearer to Kirsten Dunst, and her name is now synonymous with privilege and excess. But who was the real Marie Antoinette?
This film goes beyond the infamous, yet apocryphal quote, ‘Let them eat cake’, that has been used for centuries to damn the seemingly frivolous queen of France. Instead viewers are introduced to a tender-hearted, complex woman, whose life began in splendour, yet ended under the guillotine’s blade. History has often blamed Marie Antoinette for the French Revolution and subsequent Reign of Terror. Her story is, undoubtedly, tied up with one of extravagance, inequality and bloody revolution, but could the wife of Louis XVI in fact have been a scapegoat?
This film, featuring input from luminaries such as Simon Schama, traces her journey from her childhood in Austria, to her troubled marriage and life in the extraordinary Palace of Versailles, and ultimately, to her final hours in a squalid prison cell. Could the time have come for a reassessment of one of history’s most famous women?