Adapted by Coppola from Antonia Fraser's 2001 biography, Marie Antoinette takes a sympathetic view of the ill-fated Austrian royal who became the teen consort of Louis XVI and the target of anti-royalists as French Revolutionary fervour heated up in the 1790s.
As the titular queen, Kirsten Dunst embodies all the contradictions of an unsophisticated ingénue transplanted to a royal court that is steeped in political intrigue. Reacting to the strictures of life at court, Coppola gleefully lets Dunst and her retinue of Manolo Blahnik-wearing ladies-in-waiting 'eat cake' (a pronouncement falsely attributed to the doomed royal) before the menacing shadows of a new social order seals her fate.
Shot on location at Versailles and the Paris Opera, though its dialogue and manners are self-consciously modern, the film is as sumptuous as it is stylistically audacious. It draws as much inspiration from the New Romantics of the '80s music scene - Adam Ant was the source for the 'look' sported by Coppola's on screen Count Fersen (Jamie Dornan), the queen's Swedish lover - as from historically faithful period detail.
Jason Schwartzman, Marianne Faithfull, Judy Davis and Steve Coogan excel in an eccentric but spirited supporting cast, with an eclectic roster of musicians (New Order, The Strokes) featured on the film's predictably hipster-cool soundtrack.
"With lyrical intelligence and scrappy wit, Coppola creates a luscious world to get lost in" Rolling Stone