Film Review by Andy BoxA Little Chaos
Madame Sabine De Barra is an unlikely candidate for the landscape architect of the still-to-be-completed palace of Versailles. She has little time for the classical ordered designs of the man who hires her; the famous architect Le Notre. However, as she works on her creation, she finds herself drawn to the enigmatic Le Notre and forced to negotiate the perilous rivalries and intricate etiquette of the court of King Louis XIV. But Sabine is made of strong stuff; her honesty and compassionate nature help to overcome both the challenges of her newfound popularity, and an unspeakable tragedy from her past, to win the favour of the Sun King and the heart of Le Notre.
Green fingered Kate brings order to court.
English acting royalty playing King Louis XIV and his royal gardener’s assistant is an interesting combination for Rickman’s second attempt at being behind the camera. Having not seen The Winter Guest (1997) I can only surmise that he maybe did not enjoy directing and that the seventeen year gap between the two is evidence that such a statement may hold some truth.
A Little Chaos is a warm, slow paced, somewhat typically British, historical period drama, that reunites the smouldering ‘Winslet’ with the ‘I only have one way of talking’ Rickman for the first time since Sense and sensibility (1994). The result of which is a half decent movie. If you enjoy any of the following; period dramas, landscape gardening, Rickman’s dry delivery or Winslet’s non acting attributes then you will be satisfied with your cinema choice. If all of these are your perfect mix of film ingredients then this is certainly for you and I haven’t even mentioned the above average supporting cast.
|A Little Chaos behind the scenes director Alan Rickman|
Winslet plays Sabine De Barra who is hired by Le Notre (Matthias Schoenaerts) to spice up his garden designs and as it turns out his life. Schoenaerts and Winslet definitely create an onscreen tension that is natural and believable. Despite the obvious conclusion the development of this relationship is enjoyable none the less. Belgian actor, Schoenaerts is excellent in his portrayal of a devilishly handsome, brooding and domestically persecuted Le Notre. In addition to this we have the usual cameo from Stanley Tucci (The Devil Wears Prada), and solid performances from Bafta winner Jennifer Ehle and the scheming Madame Le Notre (Helen McCrory)
Mix this with clever humor and some visually stunning court and garden scenes and I think it is clear what attracted Rickman to co-write, direct and star in this film.
I am still unsure as to how I feel about A Little Chaos. It is not a great movie but neither is it a turkey. Going to see it would be like taking a relaxing drive on a long and winding country road, on a warm summers evening, heading towards a comfortable and safe holiday destination that you had visited previously.
Releases: 12th March 2015
Duration: 116 minutes
Starring: Kate Winslet, Matthias Schoenaerts, Alan Rickman, Jennifer Ehle, Stanley Tucci, Helen McCrory, Danny Webb, Adrian Scarborough
Director: Alan Rickman (The Winter Guest)
Kate Winslet was three months pregnant when she completed filming.
This is Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman's second film together, the first being Sense & Sensibility.