Thursday, July 16, 2009

Movie Challenge Review: The Affair of the Necklace

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?


  1. That's too bad that you didn't like this! It sounded interesting until I read your review. I haven't heard of it before...

    And, I thought I read your blog, but apparently not! Remedying that now. :) (To be truthful, I 'mark all as read' so often lately that I don't really know what I am reading, anyway. lol)

  2. Never heard of this movie. But now I've read your review, even though you gave a negative response, I'm curious about it...Was this your goal? You've got it! I'll try to see it and let you know if I agree with you!

  3. I watched this movie several months ago and like you, Becky, I was really expecting something interesting. The casting, the story, the costumes... Everything seemed perfect. But right from the beginning, something was off. I also love Hillary Swank, but here her talent just vanished. I could never believe she was the scheaming and ruthless Jeanne de Valois. Christopher Walken or Adrien Brody weren’t even trying and I won’t comment Simon Baker’s performance... Sometimes, there was a lightness that didn't quite fit with the intrigue and darkness of the story and in other occasions the drama was completely over the top. I don't know how many times I roll my eyes! It was one of the worst movies I saw last year…

  4. I did try to watch this movie because it sounded awesome and I'm a sucker for costume dramas. But I stopped watching it about half an hour in. It was just painfully boring and made nooooooo sense. I usually love Christopher Walken, too. :(

    If you want them, I have two recommendations for period dramas I think you'll like. The first is VALMONT, which is another version of Dangerous Liasons but with Colin Firth as Valmont. He's actually really good in that role! And the movie has a lot more humor and heart in it than the version with John Malkovich.

    The other one is PERFUME, with Alan Rickman. This is the story of a young man in 17th-century France who has an extraordinary sense of smell. It's absolutely gorgeous. And, I don't want to spoil the plot too much, but the young man becomes a serial killer. But the reason why and how is really interesting and bizarre.

  5. I've never heard of this movie but I sure do want that necklace!!

  6. Kailana -- Welcome! :) Yea, I really wanted to like this movie, but I just didn't.

    Maria Garzia -- I can't say I was aiming to make people curious by my negative review, because I really just didn't like it! :( I guess with big names like this movie has though, it would make you curious as to why it wasn't good, eh?

    Alex --Thank you for backing me up here! I've actually heard now (after the fact) that many people were disappointed. It actually makes me feel much better to know I'm not alone! :)

    heidenkind -- I've seen Valmont! :) I was a bit hesitant to see him be so "licentious" (I think that's how you spell it!), as I'm used to my tame Mr. Darcy. :) I've also seen Perfume, which had such a strange, disturbing twist! Holy Cow! Looks like we have similar tastes in films though. I guess we're a sucker for period dramas? :)

    Staci -- LOL. Yes, that necklace would be a fun one to add into your wardrobe!