Based on the true events of the Diamond Necklace Affair, The Affair of the Necklace follows the central woman, and brains of the operation, Jeanne St Remy de Valois as she dupes the Cardinal de Rohan and French monarchy.
This film takes a different perspective of the events of the affair. Perhaps this is because it is from the vantage point of Jeanne. Of course Hilary Swank's Jeanne de la Motte is a modern woman who is strong-willed and is only contriving the affair to reform the family name of Valois to its former dignity. Not only was this portrayal not very convincing to me, it was kind of annoying. Swank went through the motions as a strong-willed hero, rather than the cunning heroine. I felt like the character gives the writers a great opportunity to create a really smart female lead, but failed in this.
The portrayal of Marie Antoinette was new to me. I think one of the appealing aspects of the true Marie Antoinette is that she wasn't a strong-willed queen; she was a naive party-girl who hadn't the opportunity to develope into a ruler in her short reign. The portrayal of her in this movie, as done by the beautiful Joely Richardson, seemed like a stereotyped queen. She was nasty, demanding, and confident (for lack of a better word). It wasn't the Marie Antoinette that we all know and love.
I did like the introduction of Count Nicolas de la Motte, Jeanne's rakish husband, as portrayed by Adrien Brody. His dashing good looks and dandy charm left you fanning yourself. But this quickly diminished leaving me very dissapointed. All of a sudden Nicolas was being bossed around by his adulteropus wife, and you are left wondering why he would put up with it.
Even the Cardinal de Rohan seemed a little more diabolical than the dummy I had always imagined him. In this case, however, I felt that this portrayal was likely more true to form.
Luckily the wardrobe was fabulous. The hats especially stood out to me. Who doesn't like to see a great hat?
Overall, I was disappointed by the main character, and I wasn't sympathetic to her plight, which I think you really need to be in order to fully enjoy the movie. At first I thought I was just biased but my friend Katie, who wasn't as familiar with the true story, felt the same way. I believe that more could have been done with this movie, and it's lack of success proves that others felt the same way.