Marie Antoinette (2005)

Archduchess Maria Antonia of Austria, the late...
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This is a PBS documentary of the life of Marie Antoinette.  I found it fascinating because I had been disappointed by Coppola’s film.

The documentary surprised me by engendering sympathy for the doomed queen.  I still think she was fluffy-headed but now I understand why she is seen as ill-used.  She was completely unsuited to being the queen at that time.  She was not well-informed and she didn’t have the training or the innate qualities to confront her challenges.

Her last days, as relayed by the documentary, were suspenseful and tragic and absurd.   She behaved like a queen, though  bungling, in the last part of her life.

It shocks me that the royal family and their supporters did not realize that everything had changed and that they had to change too if they meant to survive.  Like cats released to the wild after being de-clawed, it was a cruel fate for them.

Another point that struck me, is how bizarre and scurrilous the pamphlet attacks on Marie Antoinette were.  I was shocked by one or two them.  Granted, I’m not the most sophisticated person, but I didn’t realize how little reticence they had.

Overall, I recommend the documentary over the film.  It was more engaging.

PBS companion site to the documentary.  I got all the answers right when I took the quiz which pleased me mightily.

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