A Little Chaos

Starring: Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman, Stanley Tucci, Helen McCrory, Matthias Schoenaerts
Screenplay: Alison Deegan, Alan Rickman, Jeremy Brock
Director: Alan Rickman 
Running time: 116min

You know how when you watch a trailer you hope and pray the movie will live up to it? Well this one does! (Although I admit I’m a sucker for period dramas, but there’s only so much a pretty costume can make up for – I digress…)

Kate Winslet stars as Sabine De Barra, a landscape gardener, apparently the only fictional main character in the story, who manages to be employed by André Le Nôtre (Matthias Schoenaerts), the French Garden designer responsible for the building of the gardens at the Palace of Versailles for King Louis XIV.

Sabine has a tragic past – of course, but this one has a nice twist, and she is in desperate need of work. Her work brings her into conflict with the chauvinistic attitudes of the time and she is also thrust into the world of the French court. An honest, yet troubled soul, she struggles to find her way amid the complexities of the court.

What struck me about this film was the scripting – which is wonderful. The film is sensitive, thoughtful and really well acted. Winslet is fabulous as Sabine. She conveys both fragility in her personal life and yet amazing strength in her professional one. I believed her – what more can I say?

Alan Rickman is excellent as King Louis and the opening scene between Louis and his family was not what I expected, but you’ll enjoy it. There is a lovely duality to the character Rickman portrays.

Stanley Tucci as the king’s brother, Philippe, Duc d’Orleans, is an absolute scene stealer. Keep your eye out for Rupert Penry-Jones and Jennifer Ehle as well.

I enjoyed watching Matthias Schoenaerts as Le Nôtre and Sabine’s love interest. However, he didn’t engage me as much as much as Winslet and Rickman did, but perhaps that’s just because this is really Sabine’s story and well because Rickman is always excellent.

One of my friends remarked how nice it was to see a “real woman” (ie not an unrealistically stick thin woman who looked like she couldn’t lift a twig) in the role – I have to agree with her.

The time passed too quickly and I never looked at my watch – I was mesmerised. Would I watch it again? You bet. Will I buy the DVD? Yes and it will live on the shelf next to my other faves – North and South, Pride and Prejudice and all the other Austen DVDs….yes….I know I’m tragic.