Saturday, October 28, 2006

Off with her head

We went to see Marie Antoinette in the torrential rains this afternoon. And the excursion demonstrated in some ways how much our lives have changed in the last several months. Where once we would have run out the door 25 minutes before the movie started and been home 15 minutes after it was over (grand total: maybe three hours), today our outing took approximately six hours.

We had to bundle up the baby, and her stuff, and trundle her over to D's parents. We had to give needlessly wordy instructions to people who raised three sons, and then drive to the theater (where we indulged not only in popcorn and a soda, but a greasy and disgusting, yet somehow satisfying, order of mozzarella sticks). We had to watch the movie -- more on that in a moment -- then drive back to D's parents' house, hear a detailed account of Ess' activities in the few hours we'd been gone, gather up all her stuff and get back in the car. Wherein she fell asleep. This being a day in which napping had gone to hell, we decided to just drive around -- in the aforementioned downpour -- until she woke up. We drove a coastal highway to Surfers Beach, where the waves were crashing, and then slowly made our way home past a couple other vistas where the ocean was violent and amazing. Finally Ess woke up, and we returned home. At 5 pm. After a 1 pm movie. For which we'd left the house at 11 am.

While the time was totally well spent in the sense that D and I got to do something alone, cinematically we could've done a lot better. We both really enjoyed Sofia Coppola's earlier films, The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation. But when the credits rolled on Marie Antoinette, I looked at D and said, "What the hell was that about?" And he replied, "I have no idea." It's pretty, I'll give her that. But the significance of the 80s soundtrack was lost on me, as was the point of the entire frickin' thing. If we were supposed to rethink the typical characterization of MA -- clueless hedonist out of touch with the starving masses -- Coppola didn't make that point anywhere near strongly enough. And if the movie isn't about reimagining MA, then I don't know what the point is. (Side note: Poor Jason Schwartzman. He was great as Max Fisher in Rushmore, but now he seems destined to play doughy losers. And Louis XVI is, in this movie anyway, just another isolated nerd.)

I've just been reading reviews, trying to see what critics have found to like about this movie. And, really, isn't that a sure sign that a movie has failed, when you need to have someone else tell you what you were supposed to figure out on screen?

Still and all, it was nice to sit in a darkened theater, huddled against the cold and holding my husband's hand. Even if it did take six hours.