Watch Alan Rickman and Kate Winslet Build Versailles in This Trailer


Hold onto your bonnets: Here’s a trailer for a movie starring Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman, directed by Rickman, in which he plays Louis XIV and she plays landscape architect Sabine De Barra. She’s hired to create a rockwork garden at Versailles and finds herself romancing Le Nôtre, the man charged with designing the (quite formal) grounds.

Also: Stanley Tucci in a truly stunning late 17th-century wig!

If your historical inaccuracy receptors are tingling, it’s for good reason. Sample early reviews from the festival circuit include Variety‘s note that, “This feels like the most thoroughly English ‘French’ court ever, and some sequences are particularly heavy-handed in imposing a modern sensibility on the era — as when Sabine meets the ladies of the court and suddenly they’re all having a sort of 12-step grief counseling session.” London’s Evening Standard dubbed the film “inauthentic,” and the Guardian complains that despite great performances, “The implausibility of Sabine’s role is increasingly hard to swallow.”

For another thing, Le Nôtre would’ve been 48 when he started working on Versailles—and Matthias Schoenaerts is looking a little young for 17th-century 48. Plus, it’s going to take real work for me to suspend my disbelief and accept that the Sun King was a charming Alan Rickman grump and not, you know, an autocrat, and also forget that Versailles was the ultimate symbol of the regime that the French Revolution would bring crashing down. Also, I’m pretty sure roses didn’t actually exist until 1975, and their appearance in anything earlier is actually an anachronism. The more you know!

Whatever, I don’t even care. My grasp of the subtleties of French court history is laughably rudimentary and it’s Alan Rickman and Kate Winslet teaming up again while wearing costumes and Sense and Sensibility is one of my all-time favorites so I’ll look forward to renting this latest piece of costume pornography one night while my husband’s out and watching with a giant bag of microwave popcorn.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin