Anyway, enough with my ranting. A Little Chaos is a historical drama set in France in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Our main character is named Sabine de Barra (Kate Winslet, Titanic and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), who is a landscape architect. She attends an interview given by the renowned designer André Le Nôtre (Matthias Schoenaerts, Daens and Far From the Madding Crowd). He is looking for help in designing his greatest-ever project: the gardens of the palace of Versailles for King Louis XIV (Alan Rickman). Despite their landscaping styles being completely different, he hires Sabine to build a section of the gardens. Once there, the low-born Sabine must quickly adapt to the foreign world of a royal court, developing relationships, enemies, and more romantic ties.
Now, I know what you’re probably thinking at this point: wouldn’t a movie where the main character is a landscape architect be really boring? As a matter of fact, if you thought this you would be completely correct. As it turns out, the only thing more boring than films about vain and useless European aristocrats is movies about landscape architects who build gardens for vain and useless European aristocrats. As you can imagine, it is very melodramatic.
Another thing you may have noticed about this period piece about France is that none of the main actors in it are French. In fact, there is not a single French actor in the entire movie; they didn’t even hire any French extras. The vast majority of the French nobility speak with Southern English accents, with the occasional Scotsman and American thrown in for good measure. I know there are plenty of reasons why this came about, but it really bugs me that the makers of this film couldn’t be bothered to hire even one French person. Another thing about the movie that bugged me was the fact that the costume department for some reason felt the need to dress Kate Winslet so that the audience can see her cleavage in every single scene. It’s completely unnecessary and a bit grating.
Now I know that I am certainly not the target audience of this film, and that target audience will probably love it; despite its extremely bland plot the movie is not all bad; the period costumes are beautiful and the acting is good, if not great. Plus, Stanley Tucci plays a flamboyantly gay duke who actually ends up being really funny. It also has a romance plot between Winslet’s and Schoenaerts’ characters which will be enjoyable for those who will enjoy this movie in the first place. But as you all clearly know by now, I am not someone who would enjoy this movie in the first place.
Grade: B+ (if you like period dramas about vain and useless European aristocrats)
Grade: C- (otherwise)