6 October 2017 | dierregi
Precious gem of a movie
A rare gem in the world of contemporary movies, this story has sympathetic characters. I thought they all but disappeared from the screen. It is purely fictional, but I like to believe it could have happened. Schoenaerts plays Andre Le Notre, the real landscape architect who designed the park of Versailles for King Louis XIV. Andre is interviewing other landscape gardeners to help him with the job, among them the only woman, fictional Sabine De Barra (Winslet).
They don't meet so cute, but Le Notre is intrigued and Sabine is hired. In the society of the time, Sabine is a bit of a low class oddity who manages to make friends in high places. Admitted to court, she attracts attention and curiosity for her beauty and skills, but she also attract Le Notre's wife jealousy.
Le Notre is unhappily married with his unfaithful Madame, but Madame is well connected at court and sort of blackmails him into staying with her. However, that will not stop the slowly burning romance between Andre and Sabine.
Sabine holds back not only because Andre is married but also because of her mysterious tragic past.
We finally get to know Sabine's sad history during one of the most moving scenes of the film. Sabine talks to the court ladies and discovers that they also share tragic losses, although at court it is forbidden to talk about death. Once able to face her past, Sabine can finally move into her future.
Winslet is really good as Sabine and Schoenaerts seems particularly gifted for the role of the strong, silent, lover. He had similar roles in The Danish Girl and Suite Francaise and was equally good. Their scenes together are moving and tender, without any of the artificial slickness or aggressiveness of contemporary romances.Rickman playing Louis XIV as a rather melancholic man who takes a fatherly fancy to Sabine.
The music is not overbearing period and the costumes are absolutely fantastic. The final scene looks like is taking place in the real, still existing, rock ballroom.
Great movie, a balm for the soul.