A Little Chaos

"Excellent"

A Little Chaos Review


Audiences looking for a French historical costume drama should look elsewhere, but those who enjoy British period comedies will love it. With a pointed dash of history and politics, this is a silly movie about social status, and it's so well written and played that only cynics won't have a lot of fun with it. Thankfully, the talent both in front of and behind the camera keep the focus on the lively characters, which makes it engaging on a deeper level than expected.

The fictional story is set around real events in 1682 France, as King Louis XIV (Alan Rickman) was planning to move his court from Paris to Versailles, a vast palace still under construction. The final project there is the expansive garden, which landscaper Andre (Matthias Schoenaerts) has to complete on deadline and under budget. And everyone is shocked when he hires the little-known Sabine (Kate Winslet) to build an outdoor ballroom and fountain. But he has been smitten with her skill and passion for gardening, and there's also a gently gurgling romantic spark between them as well. The problem is that his high-society wife (Helen McCrory) notices this and sets out to sabotage Sabine's work.

There's not much here that's historically accurate, from the frankly outrageous costumes to the English filming locations and dialogue that buzzes with specifically British humour. But it's so breezy and snappy that all we can do is sit back and enjoy it for what it is. Those who do so may even find some underlying resonance in the discussions of order and chaos in landscape design, as well as the way honesty is like a blast of fresh air in a world constrained by status. Indeed, the film's most memorable scene is a gorgeously written and played chance encounter between Sabine and the King in which they initially don't know who the other is.

Winslet is luminous in the role, constantly adding intriguing edges to Sabine that resolve into a dark revelation about her past, and her scenes with the charismatic Schoenaerts are sometimes almost too swoony, mainly because he's perhaps too handsome and kind for words. And while the villainous plot feels rather superfluous, complete with an unnecessary action sequence, there's plenty of comic relief from the preening Rickman (who gets the biggest laugh with a single utterance of the word "macaroon") and Tucci as a hilariously vain courtier. So even if the film's plot ultimately feels contrived and corny, the characters themselves become so likeable that we never want it to end.


A Little Chaos Trailer

 



A Little Chaos

Facts and Figures

Genre: Comedy

Run time: 117 mins

In Theaters: Friday 26th June 2015

Budget: $80 thousand

Distributed by: Focus Features

Production compaines: BBC Films, Artemis Film, Lionsgate, Lipsync Productions, The Bureau, K. JAM Media

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Fresh: 8 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Gail Egan, Bertrand Faivre

Starring: as Sabine De Barra, as Andre Le Notre, as Le Roi Louis XIV, as Duke Philippe d'Orleans, as Madame De Montespan, as Madame Le Notre, as Duras

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