Full of "cultural one-liners" like this, probably more common back then, in those times rules by language, than nowadays', this film is both for history and luxury buff as for those interested in social and class distinctions, the poor role of artists in the royal court, etc.
"Mharek" from Montréal writes: "one of the rare history movie that isn't done from a celebrity point of view".
This film is obviously a feast for Sophie Marceau lovers. We learn she dances quite well, for instance. Female director Véra Belmont drools on her figure as much as on royalty's excesses. As the Brazilian reviewers aptly puts it: "Sophie shines in all takes". But unlike later films starred by her like "L'âge de raison", in this film the plot is good, photography and music are superb, so you get carried away by the action, not just her looks.
Of course a stellar cast helps: the superb Bernard Giraudeau, a likable Patrick Timsit, a royally hateable Thierry Lhermitte, heartthrob Lambert Wilson, beautiful Marianne Basler and Polish rising star "Estelle Skornik".
Jordi Savalls performs the best period piece you could imagine. You get to see Versailles and Vaux-le-Vicomte in a new light, not as easy at it seems. There are some moving & emotional scenes, it's not only a "postcard movie" technically speaking.
As the NZ IMMB reviewer writes: "no one can make them like the French....". Showing both the grandeur and decadence, as the scholarly reviewer "dbdumonteil" writes on this site. side by side, as in real life, the French know what they're talking about when they do films about kings.
My favourite scenes have to do with water: the "public bath" of the Sun King and Marquise, and her dancing while it starts to rain in the beginning, shot like a TV publicity but effective.
Maybe a tad too long, and the ending may disappoint, but absolutely worthy watching!
PS: Some reviewers and plot summaries on this site do suggest the ending, so, dear reader, you're friendly warned :) .