Farewell, My Queen (2012) Movie Review

by squidooprincess2012

Farewell, My Queen (2012) recalls the days leading up to the French Revolution in the eyes of a maidservant in Versailles. Is this movie worth your time? Read this review.

There are several movies, books, and even video games that center on one of the most infamous queens in our history, Marie Antoinette. For instance, it can be recalled that back in 2006, Sofia Coppola wrote, directed, and produced (together with 2 others) “Marie Antoinette,” which stars the beautiful Kirsten Dunst. And whenever such movies and stories are shown, the spotlight is non other than Marie Antoinette herself.

If you’re looking for something refreshing, something that touches on the topic of Marie Antoinette yet shifts the spotlight to another storyteller, watch “Farewell, My Queen.” As if that's not enough motivation, a twist won't let you see Marie Antoinette the same way again.

“Farewell, My Queen” is a French movie that tells the story of the days leading up to the Storming of the Bastille and the French Revolution. Instead of focusing on the riot, or Marie Antoinette, the spotlight is on one of the queen’s maidservants.

"Farewell, My Queen" is based on a novel with the same title written by Chantal Thomas.

Did Benoît Jacquot did a good job in this movie? Find out more in this review.

I. Plot Overview

Sidonie Laborde wakes up and gets ready to attend to her duties as one of the Queen’s maidservants. She is Marie-Antoinette’s reader, and she’s running late today. So she hurries, but just after she enters the palace’s gates, she stumbles and soils her dress. She is met by Madame Campan, the Queen’s first lady-in-waiting, and informs her she’s 10 minutes late. Nevertheless, she goes to the Queen and reads to her.

The Queen notices that Mademoiselle Laborde scratches her arm too much. When Sidonie tells her the itching is caused by mosquito bites, the Queen asks Madam Campan to bring her some rosewood oil. As the Queen rubs some of the oil onto Sidonie’s arm, you can tell that Sidonie’s both feeling awkward and enjoying the gesture.

As the movie progresses, it becomes clear that Sidonie is very fond of the Queen -- that type of fondness that goes beyond loyalty. Sidonie has a crush on the Queen. The only problem is, the Queen prefers someone else, Yolande Martine Gabrielle de Polastron, Duchess of Polignac.

When militants storm the Bastille on the 14th of July, 1789, this naturally caused unrest in the Palace of Versailles. The servants and guards wondered what would happen to them. While some decide to pack their luggage and leave, Sidonie chose to stay...for the Queen. Yes, of course, Sidonie would never leave her Queen.

Then, the Queen asks Sidonie a favor that could save or lose her life.

II. Farewell, My Queen Trailer

III. Main Cast and Roles

Farewell, My Queen is set days prior to the execution of Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI, in July of 1789 at the Palace of Versailles. Here is a list of the actors who did a brilliant job in telling us an amazing story.

  • Lea Seydoux - Sidonie Laborde; Marie-Antoinette's reader who has a long-time crush on the queen; she would do anything for the queen
  • Diane Kruger - Marie-Antoinette; Queen of France
  • Virginie Ledoyen - Gabrielle de Polastron, Duchess of Polignac; Marie-Antoinette's intimate friend
  • Xavier Beauvois - Louis XVI; King of France
  • Noeme Lvovsky - Madam Campan; the Queen's first lady-in-waiting
Get the Book Where this Movie is Based on...
Farewell, My Queen

IV. What I Like About the Movie

1. Nobody speaks French better than the French

Though the screenplay is entirely French (save for a few English lines), I’m not talking about the French language. I’m talking about how “authentically French” this movie is … well, at least based on the comparison one can get from watching other Marie-Antoinette films produced and released by big Hollywood labels. In other words, nobody does French history better than the French themselves. Oops, Diane Kruger is German.

Remember Kirsten Dunst’s Marie Antoinette (2006)? Try watching Farewell, My Queen and you’ll see that Marie Antoinette (2006) has no depth. Then again, that’s just my opinion.  

2. A refreshing story that touches on our fascination about Marie-Antoinette

Though this movie is about Marie-Antoinette, this is NOT about her. So I like it a lot. You can’t even hear the line that people associate her with. For once, it’s about something and someone else. I also like the fact that the novelist and the filmmakers toy around Marie-Antoinette’s sexuality. Marie-Antoinette engaged in homosexual acts? Why didn’t I think of that? At least, for once, there’s a film that doesn’t focus on her extravagance. Wink!

3. No erotic scenes

Unlike other movies, especially gay-themed ones, Farewell, My Queen did not rely on lesbian or gay sex to illustrate the "intimate friendship" of Marie-Antoinette and Gabrielle of Polignac. Sure, there were two nude scenes, but there was nothing erotic in them.

V. What I Don’t Like About the Movie


I like the movie a lot.

Sorry, movie savants, I think I was blind to the movie's imperfections. Wink!

VI. My Recommendation

Should you watch Farewell, My Queen?

Of course!

VIII. Gifts for the Queen of Your Life

Mothers are God’s greatest gift to us. And so is your wife -- that is, if you’re a husband reading this. They’re the queens of your life. Surprise them with a unique gift on Mother’s Day (or on any day for that matter).

  • Fresh New Present Ideas for Mum | Mother’s Day Gift Ideas 2013
  • 10 Unique Presents for Mums for All Occasions | Christmas, Mother’s Day, Birthdays...
Updated: 02/23/2013, squidooprincess2012
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?

Did You Watch Farewell, My Queen? What Do You Think of the Movie?

squidooprincess2012 on 02/23/2013

@Catana That's the point. I prefer apples to oranges. Thanks for dropping by! :)

Guest on 02/23/2013

Accusing Coppola's movie of shallowness kind of misses the point. It was intentionally all about appearances, so comparing it to the French film is like comparing apples and oranges.

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