The Affair of the Necklace

>> Friday, July 24, 2009

Ugh! This movie was so bad. The chapter of the book I recently read was much, much better, and it's not because I knew what was going to happen while watching. It plods. It bores. It stagnates. I couldn't believe they actually changed it so that Rohan burned all his letters. Weak. He didn't!

Hilary Swank can't do the role of Jeanne justice. She has no charisma and her accent falters at times. There's plenty of actresses like Blanchett or Winslet back when this was filmed who could easily have done a better job. Hell, I was thinking even Saffron Burrows would have been better, when you think of relatively unknown British actresses.

And the writing. Ugh. It fails in scope, rhythm, characterization and a serious lack of good lines. The trial was the Chicago of the 18th century with all the publicity its defendants received in newly published books at the time. Jeanne is anything but a innocent girl just trying to get back honor for her family name, but that's how the film decided to portray her. At a certain point, I just couldn't roll my eyes anymore. Were they going for some kind of 18th century girl power theme? I don't get it. The story only works if Jeanne is shown for the cunning wench she is. But there she is towards the end, not running while she still has the chance because she doesn't want to ruin her family name. *eye roll*

From The Last Alchemist:

Jeanne's two longest-serving lovers—grave, dark Albert Beugnot and blond, lusty Rétaux de Villette, a guardsman friend of her husband—doubted that she ever loved or liked anyone at all. Beugnot considered her a type of enfant savage: "Engaged in perpetual conflict with society from the time of her birth, she had learned to disdain its laws, and had but little respect for those of morality." Giuseppe Balsamo was thirty-five when he discovered his life's mission of Freemasonry; Jeanne knew hers almost from birth. The only thing that made her pain, humiliation, and hunger endurable was a determination to retrieve the lost lands of her Valois father. This idée fixe, Beugnot said, made her "a woman who would stop at nothing to achieve her ends and who felt entirely justified to defy a social order which had denied her birthright."
Now THAT is a character worth putting on screen for two hours. Too bad this movie doesn't even bother.

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