French filmmaker Jacques Demy has given this international project, delving into French history, an opulent, posey, disarming naivete in keeping with its adaptation from a very popular Japanese comic strip [Rose of Versailles by Riyoko Ikeda], also a stage show in Japan.
The film has a historical charm that recalls the innocence of early Hollywood epics. Story takes place in 19th century France where a girl is brought up like a boy by her noble martinet father fed up with a long line of girls. She becomes the bodyguard of the flighty queen of France, Marie Antoinette, and wears a man’s uniform and is known as Oscar. The girl grew up with the family housekeeper’s son. The latter loves her but she sees him only as a brother. This is to change as France heads for revolution.
The unknown British cast is acceptable. Catriona Maccoll is worth further attention for her lovely limning of Oscar, a woman waiting to burst out of a man’s clothing.
Film has fine art direction, costuming, music and technical qualities. The actual attack on the Bastille is a bit pithy for the reported $4 million outlay. Shooting on actual location in Versailles is an asset.