Review of Jeanne du Barry, the film directed by and starring Maïwenn that rescues Johnny Depp after his scandalous divorce from Amber Heard. Premieres September 22.
It has been three years since we saw Johnny Depp star in a film: it was The Photographer of Minamata, in 2020. Now he returns to the big screen with a new project in which he has a supporting role: he plays Louis XV in Jeanne du Barry, a film starring, directed and co-written by Maïwenn in collaboration with Teddy Lussi-Modeste and Nicolas Livecchi.
Depp is not an easy actor, which is why his clashes with Maïwenn have been leaked as a result of his usual lack of punctuality in arriving at the filming set. Be that as it may, the film has come to fruition and is about to be released in commercial theaters to make us enjoy a Journey to 18th century palace life.
A very murky fairy tale
Jeanne du Barry takes as its central axis this woman, from very humble origins, who was lucky enough to have access to a certain level of culture, very unusual at the time. Avid for culture and pleasure, she manages to take advantage of her great attractiveness to gradually ascend the social scale, becoming a luxury courtesan.
Such was her charm that she dazzled King Louis XV, to the point of making her his favorite lover and sowing scandal among his family and his subjects, who were already informed of the monarch’s dalliances.
Despite the majority opposition towards her, Jeanne moved to Versailles where she continued to be the talk of the court for her taste for art, naturalness and her daring dresses that challenged the fashion trends of the moment.
However, although she was a very influential woman at the time, Jeanne was never completely free or had a happy ending since the French Revolution beheaded the monarchy of those who had disowned their social class.
Jeanne du Barry It is a tremendously well-set period drama. The production design is lavish as are the costumes, hairdressing and props sections. The film allows you to tour the gardens and interiors of Versailles better than if you traveled there and you had to do it among a crowd of tourists (I know what I’m talking about).
But where the film grows is in the creation of that intimate portrait of such a peculiar woman in a time to which she did not seem to belong. It is true that Maïwenn takes many licenses when showing her: apparently her hair was blonde, her eyes were blue, and her skin was very white, almost porcelain.
And she did not marry the famous pimp Jean-Baptiste du Barry, nicknamed “the cunning”, but with his brother Guillaume to gain access to the court and officially become the king’s lover. In the film both roles seem to have been recast in the role of Melvil Poupaud.
In any case, The changes are at the service of a story in which the king, in himself, is the least important thing. It is the fundamental pillar of the entire system, but its presence is almost accessory. The protagonist is her and, if anything, the great scene-stealer that Benjamin Lavernhe becomes in the role of La Borde, right-hand man of Louis XV.
The problems of filming do not transcend beyond the anecdote. It is true that Depp and Maïwenn don’t have a special chemistry, but it does seem like their characters have complicity.. Let’s take into account the age difference between the two: Louis XV met Madame du Barry in the last years of his reign when she was 21 years old, which made him regain his joie de vivre.
It is a real shame that the film does not delve beyond his relationship with the king, given that his life in exile was also worth telling and characters like Zamor are noted who were decisive in his final destiny.
Of course, Jeanne du Barry avoids morbidity. Despite showing the life of a woman who made her living thanks to sex, being a luxury prostitute and dedicating herself to the world of “gallantry”, if sweeter words are preferred, There are no sex sequences as such, but rather sensuality and a lot of elegance to avoid falling into an explicitness that is not necessary..
Al final, Jeanne du Barry wants to show the contrast of idiosyncrasies between the rich from birth and a woman who, within her extravagance and ambition, was a rare bird. She makes a mistake by caricaturing the king’s daughters to the point of ridicule, but she gets away with it when she puts the focus on Jeanne herself and on a tragic destiny that seemed to have been marked since her youth.
Great job by Maïwenn as well as the director to contain Depp in one of those roles that he likes so much, with a lot of costume and pomp, with which he could have easily fallen into histrionics.
Period drama focused on the biography of Jeanne du Barry, Louis XV’s favorite mistress and a woman portrayed as a pioneer in times of pomp and pomp. It is a film with remarkable production values even if it takes its licenses.
The production design is fabulous, the soundtrack is remarkable, and Maïwenn’s own strength in front of the camera adds up.
Although the headline is Depp’s return, his presence adds little to the story. The stridency of the king’s daughters detracts entirely from the narrative.