Review Round Up: Jeanne Du Barry, Cannes Film Festival

We take a look at what is being said about the new historical drama film which has had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival….

The Guardian: *** The essential silliness of the film is part of its watchability, though perhaps Maïwenn is never quite sure how to handle Depp. Without this spectacular casting – although Depp is certainly good enough for it not to be simply stunt casting – Louis XV would just be an unsexy old guy, the royal sugar daddy, and much more emphasis would be placed on Jeanne’s political strategising.”

Coming “Jeanne du Barry is a film that evokes mixed reactions. Sure, it showcases aspects of the director’s boldness, and the casting is spot-on mainly. Besides Depp, it’s worth mentioning Benjamin Lavernhe’s La Borde and India Hair’s Adélaïde, among other performances. Still, the movie fails to deliver a compelling exploration of its protagonist’s significance. Most of all, it leaves much to the imagination, which is entirely unexpected, considering the protagonist is a courtesan.”

Metro: ** “Jeanne du Barry isn’t dull, or a disgrace. But it’s more of a curiosity than a must-see, and certainly not Depp’s finest hour.”

Daily Mail: ** “The costumes and sets are fabulous, but it’s a workaday biopic offering no real insight into what it was about Louis’s favourite courtesan that so electrified him.” ** “It’s a respectable, watchable, mild-mannered soap opera, and if you’re a fan of horse-drawn carriages and gilded apartments, then you could do worse. But you could also do quite a lot better. The combination of Depp and Maïwenn may have seemed like a dangerous one, but on this occasion they’re playing it safe.”

The Independent: **** “Against the odds, Jeanne du Barry has turned out to be a subtle and well-crafted costume drama with plenty of satirical bite. It has more in common with Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon than it does Pirates of the Caribbean, with Depp giving one of his more restrained and effective performances as the king who falls in love with a courtesan. His Louis is a taciturn, melancholy but commanding figure with a dark side.”

The Hollywood Reporter: “The film’s scope is so ambitious, perhaps it became too much for a director who usually hits her best notes through improvisation with a closely-knit cast, creating memorable scenes that suddenly turn explosive. There’s none of that here, and the paradox of Jeanne du Barry is that, despite the daring life it’s based on and the daring casting of the semi-blacklisted Depp, this is a movie that plays it too safe.”

Variety: “but let it be said: Maïwenn is a major filmmaker, and “Jeanne du Barry” demands to be taken seriously. As the end credits rolled, an older woman openly wept behind me, taking several minutes to pull herself together. Clumsy as the film can be, Maïwenn taps into the emotional core of a most unusual relationship, such that we mourn how and why it eventually dissolves.”

The Telegraph: ** “Depp shows zero regal gravitas as the French king Louis XV in this stale and draughty period romance.”

The Upcoming: ** “While, upon first glance, the French production looks like your average period drama, closer inspection reveals carelessness in completion: the light of the candles illuminating the scenes never flickers; there are no details in scenery or costume that warrant close-ups, they merely aid the adults playing dress-up; when the camera appears to move, it is a zoom added in post-production.”

The Wrap: “As an actress, Maïwenn dominates the movie while rarely making us think that Jeanne and Louis are true soulmates. (If she had done that, we wouldn’t need the narrator to tell us about it.) The one person who has figured out how to show real personality underneath all the period strictures is Benjamin Lavernhe as Louis’ long-suffering and very sharp head valet; he never raises his voice, but there’s more bite and intrigue in his quiet dealings than in the rest of the film.”

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