Farewell, My Queen (‘Les Adieux à la Reine’)

DRAMA; 1hr 40min (French with subtitles)

STARRING: Léa Seydoux, Diane Kruger, Virginie Ledoyen

The queen and I: Seydoux

With naturalistic ease, director Benoît Jacquot’s film of Chantal Thomas’s 2002 novel burrows into the last days of the Court of Versailles. In Paris in 1789, outraged citizens are busy storming the Bastille on the eve of the French Revolution. At Versailles, however, the tranquil rites of privilege are undisturbed at first — until, over three decisive days, whispered reports harden into frightening facts. As observed from the perspective of opaque Court reader Sidonie Laborde (Seydoux), her final hours with her revered, capricious Queen Marie Antoinette (Kruger) are a study in intrigue and denial, culminating in the cold slap of betrayal.


Anxious speculation swirls through candlelit palace corridors but Sidonie holds fast in the fickle currents, remaining unquestioningly loyal to her weepily rattled, yet, as it turns out, steel-spined monarch. Flitting between spartan, backstage servants’ quarters and sumptuous royal suites, Jacquot fluidly reconstructs the shapeless confusion of epic collapse. Its striking constant is the unreasoning devotion of a woman with everything to lose to a woman who does little to deserve it.