What it's about:
Sabine is a strong-willed and talented landscape designer who is chosen to build one of the main gardens at King Louis XIV’s new palace at Versailles. In her new position of power, she challenges gender and class barriers while also becoming professionally and romantically entangled with the court’s renowned landscape artist, André Le Notre.
What we thought:
Ah, I love a good period drama don’t you? I’ve heard quite a bit about Alan Rickman’s A Little Chaos, but what really interested me about this movie, is the fact that so many reviews described this as being feminist. The thing about historical era pieces is that they often lend themselves to an audience who often require authenticity and accuracy in terms of setting, cultural feel and realistic portrayals of royal figures of history. However, A Little Chaos proves that its title is more than appropriate because it breaks every single unspoken rule that many of us have attached to period-centric films. For one, we see strong female characterisation in an era where women were often seen as nothing more than decorative objects.Kate Winslet, in the role of Sabine de Barra, a landscape designer who works for herself (something which is totally unheard of), is particularly charming and steals the show with her graceful performance. Alan Rickman, in the director’s chair (as well as playing the role of a very amusing, and wonderfully over the top King Louis XIV), really shines the spotlight on Kate’s character, bringing to life a character both vulnerable and strong; one who is not afraid to get her hands dirty, but who embraces everything about being a woman.
Her onscreen chemistry with André Le Notre (played by the rather delectable Matthias Schoenaerts), is absolutely sizzling. It’s interesting to note that although he was initially dismissive of her ideas for the King’s garden, he eventually comes around and gives her free reign, allowing her to explore and give life to the visions and ideas she has.Again, something you wouldn’t necessarily see in that time period. Another very noteworthy performance is that of Stanley Tucci, who is absolutely marvellous in the role of a bisexual royal court regular. He was utterly hilarious. More love to Alan Rickman for not making a caricature out of gay and bisexual characters. Of course, my review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Alan Rickman, who is as commanding and arresting in his performances as ever. Also, that whisky-smooth laden voice? I swoon every time.That said, this movie isn’t without its flaws. Despite the beautiful cinematography, gorgeous background music and strong performances from characters all round, the plot itself didn’t feel quite complete.For a period drama, I thought it was short and that there were some holes in the plot that needed to be filled.However, if you can look past that, and enjoy it for the acting, luscious gardens and glorious settings, then A Little Chaos is a movie well worth checking out.
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