Manon Lescaut is a weird (TV) movie, guys. It’s based on a 1731 French novel by the Abbé Prévost, and the summary is supposed to be “woman ruins relationship/lives because she’s too attached to luxury” but instead it plays out as “woman has sketchy relationship with brother, is pimped out, ruins love affair.” I don’t know, I think something that had Great Cultural Meaning (i.e., the moral implications of luxury and consumption) in the 18th century didn’t translate well here.
Meet the Chevalier des Grieux, who is studying to become a priest and looks like Jamie Fraser’s younger brother.
He’s hanging out in front of an inn, and despite it having been established that no floozy can distract him from his studies, spots a floozy from afar and is just In Love Done Over No Contest No Nothing.
He comes over to say hi, she apparently NEEDS TO STRIP IMMEDIATELY STAT RIGHT HERE IN THE INNYARD, he holds up his cloak in some ludicrous moment of chivalry, she drops trou, and he’s hooked.
The next day, he shows up in civvies to run off with the floozy — Manon — who is back in dress #1 and wafting Edwardian panties around.
The costumes were designed by Florence Sadaune (The Queen and the Cardinal, Asterix and Obelix Meet Cleopatra), and they’re sometimes okay, sometimes very odd. Manon is sometimes chemised, sometimes not:
She’s a fan of clunky straw tricorns:
She’s WAY TOO CLOSE to her brother, but decently dressed in a française-type number:
Then whips out this pink, back-laced, be-grommeted nightmare:
Her brother sells her off to an aging aristocrat:
The maid is Team Zipper:
Manon wears a polonaise-type thing as a dressing gown:
She goes to a ball where her hair goes to center-part crazytown:
Her brother refuses to shave, even for a poncy event:
She shacks up with her aging aristocrat lover in a machine-embroidered-fabric dress:
Wears a late 16th/early 17th-c. loose gown as a dressing gown:
Ends up in prison, where she’s rescued by the chevalier and the son of the jailer:
The chevalier has to become a card shark in order to support her and her brother:
She decides to sleep with the jailer’s son just to be friendly:
And things end badly, but I’ll leave something to the imagination.
Can you explain any of these costume choices to me?