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By Doug Brunell | October 13, 2007

When it comes to stories about Marie Antoinette I’m pretty forgiving. I even thought Sofia Coppola’s film was competent, though I wouldn’t sit through it again. Now with that understood, “Let Them Eat…” is painful to watch, though I’ll give writer/director/star Leslie Cottle credit for being just as self-indulgent as Antoinette. Cottle even wrote “original poetry” for this film, giving critics one more reason to slam it.

Set between Antoinette’s prison cell and a writer’s present day situation (Cottle, it should be noted, plays both roles), the film examines their similar circumstances/existence. All of this is peppered with poetry and includes an appearance by the spirit of Antoinette (a given in such a film).

The only thing that saves film from getting a half star is the fact that it is competently shot and the acting isn’t atrocious. The story is pretentious, the characters fairly one-dimensional, and the film reeks of someone who takes herself way too seriously. (I’m sure I’ll be admonished by the director either publicly or privately for “not getting it,” though it is perfectly easy to understand something that is, to use the term again, self-indulgent.)

Normally I would recommend something like this to serious Antoinette fans only, but I can’t even do that here. The movie, whose tagline reads “Release your past… and embrace your future,” is a serious exercise in soul sucking tedium. After forty-four minutes of pointless water torture, you’ll wonder why you’ve submitted yourself to it in the first place. There are no acceptable answers, so the best thing to do is never put yourself in that position in the first place. If you want to see a Marie Antoinette film that won’t knock your socks off, but also won’t put you to sleep, stick with Coppola’s.

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