As part of the Period Drama Challenge, and part of my effort to review films, I recently watched The Affair of the Necklace (2001). The story takes place during the French 18th century, centering on the court of Louis XVI who has stripped a countess and her family of their title and home. The countess is played by Hilary Swank, and the majority of the film she spends her time trying to break back into the graces of the court, to rebuild her family name.
The necklace comes in to play as it was a necklace that Louis XV supposedly had made for his mistress at the time. The jewelers spent years collecting the best diamonds to outfit this larger-than-life necklace, and with the death of Louis the XV & the banishment of his mistress from court, it put the jewelers into great debt. Louis the XVI then tried to offer the necklace to Marie Antoinette, who refused it. Reported conartist, Jeanne de Saint-Remy Valois (Swank's character), tried to use this necklace as a way of winning her way back into court.
Review: My initial reaction was great interest, as I hadn't actually heard of this film before, and was shocked that it had slipped past me. I also think that Hilary Swank is a great actress, so I was eager to see her in the film. Unfortunately, this is exactly where my excitement stopped. For some reason, Swank, along with characters such as Christopher Walken (the actor in all those comedic spoofs), absolutely threw me. I wanted to fall into the story, but the characters were not believable, and I honestly wondered if there was a comic element somewhere that I had missed. Because I had taped this off of a movie channel, I didn't have a film case to review the plot to know that it really was a romantic drama. The acting simply wasn't believable, and the scenes seemed put together in a very awkward sort of way. I will say though that Joely Richardson, who played Marie Antoinette, did a fantastic job. Maybe this was because she had an over the top character to play, but I found her to be icy and very much the diva that I could see this queen being. However, this alone couldn't save the movie for me. In the end, I wanted to like it, but just didn't.
For more information: The Affair of the Necklace
If you've seen this film, I'd be curious to hear your response to it. Was I too critical, or was the experience different in the theater or with a different introduction to it?