Diane Kruger Earns Much Praise for “Farewell, My Queen”

“Diane Kruger takes role fit for queen,” writes Roger Moore of McClatchy News Service about Kruger’s latest role as Marie Antoinette in  Benoît Jacquot’s masterfully shot movie “Farewell, My Queen.”

Diane Kruger as Marie Antoinette in "Farewell, My Queen."
Diane Kruger as Marie Antoinette in "Farewell, My Queen."

German-born actress who resides in France has earned much praise for her portrayal of  the legendary French queen and has been credited by many critics for having mastered Marie Antoinette’s “quicksilver” nature and human side.

Actress Diane Krueger meeting German World reader Malena Fuchs at screening in L.A. Photo: GW
Actress Diane Krueger meeting German World reader Malena Fuchs at a screening in L.A. Photo: GW

She was also welcome by standing ovations and loud applause at a recent screening at the Laemmle Theatre on July 13, 2012 upon invitation of the Consulate General of France in LA.  In a very engaging Q&A, the star from “Inglourious Basterds” and “Troy” told the audience how she was taken by the script from the day it was handed to her but that she had to reverse the superficial and caricature-like image that she had had of the French queen once she started doing some research about her.

“You read in Stefan Zweig’s biography [‘Marie Antoinette: The Portrait of an Average Woman’] that the minute she heard about the Bastille, it dawned on her that this was the end of the life they had known,” Kruger told McClatchy News Service. “She realized this sooner than the king, faster than many of those at court. And she took more seriously her responsibilities as from that point, too late, as it turned out. She had a moment when she ‘manned up’ and became a real queen.”

That’s the take Kruger went with for “Farewell, My Queen,” that opened in US theaters on Friday 13, 2012. The film that is actually shot at Versailles, observes Marie Antoinette through the eyes of a favorite servant, a woman who worships her and yet sees that the queen favors another.

Diane Kruger (r.) and  Virginie Ledoyen as Gabrielle de Polignac
Diane Kruger (r.) and Virginie Ledoyen as Gabrielle de Polignac

“I had heard about Gabrielle de Polignac, her closest friend,” Kruger said according to McClatchy News Service. “I read that there were rumors that they might have been lovers. What isn’t a rumor was that Marie got Gabrielle out just in time to save her from the guillotine. She had to worry about her own safety and her family’s safety, but all she seemed to care about was saving her friend or her love.”

From her research, Kruger decided Marie “was borderline schizophrenic,” something that grew into the nature of her scenes — scattered, mercurial.

“You don’t see her that often [in the film]. Each scene stands on its own, and she is never in the same mood that she was in from her previous scene. That is alarming, playing her at this extreme or that one — she feels betrayed. Now, she’s vulnerable. Here, she’s aloof. I was worried I would never grasp who she was.”

Something must have clicked, because the film, and Kruger have earned rapturous reviews. Kevin Turan of the Los Angeles Times, for example, commented: “ It is through Sidonie’s eyes that we experience what happens in Versailles, and Seydoux is an excellent choice for the role.  (..) The same is true for Kruger in the more multifaceted role of Marie Antoinette. A non-native speaker of French (like her character), the German-born Kruger portrays a quixotic, quicksilver ruler, a creature of ever-changing whims who wants to be obeyed absolutely even as she sometimes tries to forget she’s the queen.”

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