The period drama usually goes one of two ways. There is the gripping, epic saga full of heroes, villains, blood, and sex. It could have a very interesting story and it can suck viewers in and make them love going to the movies. Then there’s the second option, the dull, boring, and ultimately pointless tale that exists in a time that is long gone. The new drama A Little Chaos falls under this sad category and while its production value is high and it contains some very good actors, it is a film that suffers from a great number of cons. If you are a fan of the time period or more importantly, the actors, then please do check it out. Otherwise, I suggest you look for cinematic entertainment elsewhere.
The acting juggernaut Kate Winslet leads an equally powerful cast in A Little Chaos, a film that suffers greatly from quite a few things however the acting is not one of them. In the film, Winslet plays Sabine de Barra, a gardener/landscaper in France circa 1682 who, with a little bit of luck, lands a job designing a unique garden fountain in the Palace of Versailles for King Louis XIV (Alan Rickman). During the course of the film, Sabine strikes up a romance with her boss, Andre Le Notre (Matthias Schoenaerts) and is exposed to high society, a type of life she is not too accustomed to.
A Little Chaos was directed by Alan Rickman and it is the accomplished actor’s second stint behind the camera (the first being 1995’s Sense and Sensibility which also starred Kate Winslet). While it took the man two decades to follow up with such a dull picture is beyond anyone’s guess. This film is an unfortunate example of overestimating one’s audience since it is a lame attempt at taking a period drama and trying to make it easily digestible for the masses. Winslet does her usual best with the leading role and it is a noble effort indeed. Schoenaerts is adequate as the sexy love interest and Rickman fairs much better in an acting role as the King of France. Even the ever reliable Stanley Tucci makes an appearance as Duke Philippe d’Orleans and provides some of the film’s sole comedic relief.
The technical aspects of the film are also well in place, including the sets, costumes, and music, just to name a few. They all highlight the 1600s of France very well and make one feel they have been transported to that time and place. It’s really a shame though that with such a high caliber of actors and some very glossy elements to support them, this film wasn’t just a bit better. I blame the story which is lame and downright uninteresting. It has a strong Cinderella-esque feel which has been done to death throughout the years. The tale of a young woman yearning to find love and be loved while at the same time trying to be a part of high society. It’s been done before and it’s staleness stinks up the entire production. Die hard fans of Kate Winslet and the other actors should check this film out, otherwise, don’t waste your time.
Blu-ray Bonus Features
Unfortunately, there are no bonus features for A Little Chaos.