Saturday 22 May 2010

1) Just so Beautiful- MARIE ANTOINETTE versus A SINGLE MAN

So I have decided to write blogs comparing two or more films which are inter-related. When the idea came into my head, it was only because of two films. However as I thought more about it, hundreds of comparisons popped into my brain (okay not hundreds but enough to make a really long post). So I decided to post 1 comparison at a time.

Now to be truthful, I had not thought about this topic at all, forget making it my very first one. I just finished watching A Single Man, a film I watched on an impulse. And it was just breathtakingly beautiful. Before this the only other really beautiful film I had seen was Marie Antoinette. I called it the most beautiful film ever. However after A Single Man, I have a slight doubt about this title.

So basic facts about both- One’s made by Sofia Coppola, daughter of the legendary filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola. The other is made by the ex-designer of Prada, the quite dapper Tom Ford. The former is based on one of the most famous or rather most infamous queens in history. The latter is based on a homosexual English professor recovering from the death of his soulmate. The first is set just before and during the French Revolution, in Versailles, while the second is set in early 60s in Los Angeles.

Both films are actually quite different from each other. The only way they are similar is their cinematography. Marie Antoinette starts out in soft colours, like the character itself who is a blooming girl of fourteen, full of innocence and hopes as she is sent from Austria to France to get married and bring about a political courtship between the two countries. Then, as she starts her partying days to fill the void in her marriage, the film becomes bright and colorful and delicious. In the end of her life and happiness, the film becomes grey and pale. Almost similarly in A Single Man, the protagonist George is always in a dullish light, except when he notices the beauty in people and things magically become vivid and warm.

    The thing is that both the films are extremely beautiful in their own way. Marie Antoinette changes one’s perceptions on films about monarchs. It’s fresh and lovely. It is about a princess, who is played just stunningly by the equally stunning Kirsten Dunst- her life, her struggles, her clothes, her hair, her desserts, her lovers, her family. The resplendent French castles and gardens and rooms, the gorgeous dresses, shoes, materials and jewelry, and the scrumptious food and wine, all in a laid-back, fun-filled atmosphere with post-punk music playing in the air- ah the life that never was. But even with all that, one feels for the ill-fated monarch more than ever in this film. Marie in this film isn’t someone who ordered to have cakes given to the poor. She is a lonely young girl who just wants to make everyone happy. She is a teenager and goes through similar problems like many of us today but obviously on a much larger scale. She wants her husband to want her, her mother to respect her, and her country to love her. She is a caring mother and wife by the end of it. I have written it before, and I repeat- this film is a film in which I would spend my entire life.

    A Single Man on the other hand, is a film that shows the fascinating world of exquisite, sensitive men. Colin Firth in his best role ever, quite challenges Dauphine Marie herself, as it is too about his dream-like house, his handsome suits and dazzlingly divine love-interests. His misery, only heightened by afore mentioned lighting and also the chilling and alluring music, is touching and poignant. His relationship with Jim, played by the ravishingly sexy Matthew Goode, is that full of true love and oneness. There is no doubt that they were made for each other and though it was slightly heartbreaking to see the two hunky British men kissing and flirting, it was very sweet. But his relationship with Julianne Moore’s character Charley, the only main female character of the film, is what (according to me) makes the film awesome. She looks incredible, her make-up and clothes and hair. While all women, including the little neighbor girl, looked extremely pretty in the film- Charley was the most bewitching. She is the quintessential lonely woman of the sixties. She drank and smoked and danced. She was brilliant, and her friendship with George is enjoyable and provoking. George’s next relationship is with that of Nicholas Hoult’s character Kenny. Kenny is the confused, good-looking boy who develops an interest in his professor George. Theirs is a more suggestive affair. Though I did not really like Nicholas Hoult’s sweater or hair or accent or the tan a lot, he has one hot body. And his eyes are just enchanting. Lastly, George has a brief meeting with a Spanish male prostitute Carlos, played by Jon Kartajarena, with whom he shares a cigarette or two. Now he was someone I wasn’t aware of and the sheer magnetic beauty of Carlos took me by surprise. With all these people, the emptiness of his life and the brightness of his vision, the one day in his life makes one captivating movie. All I can say is that never before did I want to be a gay man this bad.

    So my final verdict is that there are technically no winners in this category, but Marie Antoinette is the bigger favourite of the two. Still, I repeat that they are both beautiful in their own ways and salutes to Sofia Coppola and Tom Ford for making these beauties.


  1. I like your blog, but...May 22, 2010

    If there is no final verdict, what is the point of this blogpost?
    Or more precisely, titling this blogpost a 'Verdict of so and so'?

    I think you need to get off Wikipedia and think for yourself.

    That is why I don't follow you. YOU need to start thinking for yourself and being yourself first.

  2. Who is this? I guess you're right. I had just seen A Single Man and had to put a blogpost about it. And it was kind of messed up. But my final verdict basically meant that while one is beautiful in showing the wonderful Utopia like world for girls, the other shows how enchanting men and their perspective can be too. As they tackle different things completely, I couldn't choose. I like Marie Antoinette better because I like the girl's world part of it, and obviously the cakes.

    I only take help of Wikipedia to get my facts right, and if you notice I did not really take much help because Tom Ford worked for Gucci and YSL, not Prada like I foolishly put up.

  3. im going to be extremely honest in saying that i love this post of yours because after watching the two movies back to back and i realized that i felt the same way.

    There isn't any harm in taking wikipedia's help in giving direction to your thought process and getting your facts straight. i personally love both movies, but i liked single man more solely because of the lighting techniques used. Its amazing Nikhat! :D