A Little Chaos Blu-ray Review
I enjoy movies that take me to a different time in history. It’s like a new and different world that is opened up. A LITTLE CHAOS takes place in 17th Century France under the reign of Louis XIV (Alan Rickman). It doesn’t deal with his rule or battles he waged. It is a film about the gardens of Versailles. It is not a particularly deep movie, but it does offer a peek into history that isn’t talked about much.
We open in 1682 in France. Andre Le Norte (Matthias Schoenaerts) is interviewing candidates to take on a project in Versailles. He was particularly concerned with the gardens there. One of the interviewees is Sabine de Barra (Kate Winslet) who intrigues Andre with her unconventional ways. He confronts her on what appears to be no order in her designs. She comes back with that she doesn’t want to just ape what happened in the past and wants to do something wholly unique. Sabine walks out of the quick meeting thinking he will not hire her and that he didn’t like her ideas.
Andre did in fact like her work and how she challenged the norm. She gets hired for the project. The project though gets off to a rocky start since many of the workers don’t like working for a woman. This would be entirely believable. Women weren’t considered as the same standing as men. There is no doubt that they had to do quite a bit just to be heard. Sabine though eventually gets help from an unlikely source. She is helped by a man who she beat out for the project.
People should understand that Director Alan Rickman has played around with some facts of this time. Andre did in fact exist, but he was much older when 1682 rolled around. He actually started the project in 1661. Sabine though did not exist, but Rickman has stated in interviews that he wanted to shine a light on gender politics in this time.
Sabine’s status gets bumped up in the court with her work. She becomes acquainted with Philippe d’Orleans (Stanley Tucci) and his wife Princess Palatine Elisabeth Charlotte (Paula Paul). She also becomes friends with Madame de Montespan (Jennifer Ehle), one of the many mistresses of King Louis XIV. She learns the gossip and innuendo that surrounds the palace and what part everyone had.
The film never quite takes off like it should. It does however always stay interesting with great scenes here and there. One of them involves a time where Sabine meets Louis XIV for the first time. She didn’t know it was him at first and she thought he was the head gardener. They talk about plants and flowers and such. She does figure it out when he gives himself away. They then converse intimately about life and love. They connect on a human level that may not have been accurate for the times, but it still resonates.
Another great scene involved these same two characters. Sabine fights for the rights of Louis’s mistress and compares her to a flower. The metaphor surprisingly works and she gets her point across without being so blunt about it. There are other nice moments that I enjoyed. I just wish there was a bit more dramatic heft. Sure he throws in a plot point about Andre’s wife and how she tries to sabotage Sabine’s work. And there are also flashbacks to Sabine’s family tragedy that Rickman gently unspools to good effect. That material does push this to a good film, but not a great film.
A LITTLE CHAOS is a nice film about a time that doesn’t get shown much. It has a nice theme of letting go of the past and living in the moment. It could have been better, but it is still worth a watch.
Video: The film looked great on screen. The gardens with the flowers and plants popped with their various colors.
Audio: I had some difficulty with the sound.
There are no extras at all.