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There's a powerful character study in the middle of "Farewell, My Queen," a ponderous and costume-heavy drama about the final days inside Versailles before the French Revolution.
Diane Kruger ("Inglorious Basterds," "National Treasure") fascinates as Marie-Antoinette, the queen who's easily distracted by finery but increasingly fretful of the public unrest outside the gates. She also dithers over her infatuation with one of her nobles, the beautiful Countess Gabrielle de Polignac (Virginie Ledoyen).
Too bad they're not the main characters. Director Benoit Jacquot and co-writer Chantal Thomas (adapting Thomas' 2002 novel) put the focus on a fictional servant, the queen's personal reader, Sidonie Laborde (Léa Seydoux, from "Midnight in Paris"), who remains loyal to Marie-Antoinette as chaos erupts amid the courtiers and staff.
Alas, Sidonie is a bland nothing of a character, and our attention drifts to Kruger's queen and the gorgeous trappings of Versailles.
'Farewell, My Queen'
Opens Friday, August 17, at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated R for brief graphic nudity and language; in French with subtitles; 101 minutes. For more movie reviews, visit nowsaltlake.com/movies.