Tuesday, 31 March 2015



Director - Alan Rickman
Cast - Kate Winslet, Matthias Schoenaerts, Alan Rickman, Stanley Tucci

Well wasn't that an unexpected surprise. A date night with myself after a tiresome day at work, to catch a film I didn't really know anything about other than Alan Rickman, Stanley Tucci and Kate Winslet were in it. I'm here to tell you that if you don't know anything about this film watch the trailer right now - here let me assist you with that;

and now that you've seen the trailer, tell me that you don't want to see it. Go on, I dare you! Alright, I appreciate that there are probably some of you who have no interest in seeing this film, but for those of you whose fancies were tickled by the trailer, you should definitely go. A superb cast, outstanding cinematography, a fantastic script, a score to be reckoned with and a set that takes the wind right out of you.

Madame Sabine De Barra, a female landscape gardener gets a highly coveted position of designing and building part of the gardens of the yet to be completed palace of Versailles. Her mind is chaotic - you can tell by looking at her - and her gardening style is equally chaotic, yet incredibly captivating. The chappie that hires her is very clinical in his gardening style and everything is ordered and very classical. Polar opposites in landscape gardening, and in life, and yet it seems they are each exactly what the other needs.

As she builds on her creation, she is drawn to her employer Andre Le Notre and he is equally drawn to her. Part of her magic is that she is unassuming and does not suffer the need to pander to the wants and needs of those around her. She is honest, hardworking and passionate and that shines through in Winslets performance of De Barra. What also shines through is her internal torment and it is captivating.

Winslet as Sabine De Barra in a garden shrine - sublime

There is sufficient scandal and intrigue in the story to keep the mind ticking and as readable as De Barra is, Le Notre is mysterious and tormented in his own way. I wanted to know more of his suffering outside of his marital issues - what caused his marriage to collapse aside from his philandering wife, what torment did he suffer to drive his wife to become so unfaithful? Why was she so heartless and cruel in a time that he needed her most? So many unanswered questions in the story of his life. He puts in beautifully when telling Sabine of his crumbled marriage in that they must have taught each other to behave the way that they did and that the blame was as much his as it was hers. I found that to be a very real description of relationships - we teach each other how to behave and how to treat one another. It resonated strongly with me.

The intricacies of the characters in this story were lovely and well played out, not only in the script, but also in what was told through the looks given and the gesticulation. I was captivated not only by the main characters - King Louis XIV, De Barra and Le Notre - but also the supporting characters, Madame De Montespan, Madame Le Notre, Duras and the others.

Sabine and Andre at the unveiling of the garden 

Let me rave a little more about Winslet, she is exquisite in her fear and her honesty and her openness. This is a film in which she shone and made me remember what I love about her as an actress. *gush gush gush*.

Rickman was not only outstanding as King Louis XIV is this film, but his direction was marvellous. I have not seen the other film that he has directed (THE WINTER GUEST 1997), but I do so want to see it now, because the direction of A LITTLE CHAOS was measured and appropriate and brought an beautiful story to life on the screen. Thumbs up for him on both counts in this film.

Rickman as King Louis XIV and his court

The script is wonderful, the acting exceptional and the direction and cinematography is captivating. I felt all of the emotions in this film that were being felt by the characters and I felt drawn to their stories. The film runs just shy of two hours and I did not feel bored, or conscious of the time once. In fact, I could have continued to watch as the story played out.

One of the most magical moments in this film is where we see Sabine breakdown and we discover the true reason for her torment and the way that Andre helps her deal with it. It shows the magnitude of their love and of the beauty of their personalities. It was incredible to watch it unfold even for the brief moment it was on the screen. Each a little broken in their own way, but coupled their broken pieces seem to fit together.

The unveiling of the garden

The film ended beautifully in the completed garden (which was magnificent), which was of course the best place for it to end, but I could have watched for another two hours before we reached that point just discovering the stories of the characters in this film.

I would highly recommend that you spend the 20-something dollars to see this film if you like the trailer.

4.5 out of 5 for this gorgeous piece of cinema.

The Blonde Bombshell

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