The latest “We Can’t Handle Period Aesthetics” project, aka the biopic Jeanne du Barry (2023) (aka La Favorite), recently dropped its first trailer. Du Barry (1743-93) was famously the final mistress of French King Louis XV, and her low-born origins (she was not just a commoner but a former prostitute) led most of the Versailles courtiers to look down their noses at her, including Dauphine Marie-Antoinette. This film is directed by French actress/filmmaker Maïwenn, who is most well known internationally for having played the alien Diva Plavalaguna in former husband Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element (1997) but has done several critically applauded films in France. It stars Maïwenn as du Barry and Johnny Depp as King Louis XV.
I do feel bad for Maïwenn as increasingly-horrendous Depp was apparently a total shitshow on set. That being said, I assume she played a role in casting the superstar spousal-abuser, so my sympathy is somewhat limited. It became even more limited when I saw the trailer, because this is no great contribution to mid-18th century historical accuracy, at least in terms of costumes and hair.
Before we get into the trailer itself, can we please discuss this still of Depp? Is the blindfold representative of his valet’s talents, or is there some other excuse for this craptastic shave job with gross longer hairs below his nose and on his chin? There’s stubble and then there’s this.
Ew. Can we crowdfund for an electric razor and a magnifying mirror please?
The costumes were designed by Jürgen Doering, and I’m getting a strong artistic vibe of “dialing it in” and “we had no budget” here. Let’s look through the trailer highlights:
Jeanne du Barry, fabulous prostitute. With a bustle-era neckline, no-effort modern hair, and a 1990s fascinator.
We’re all thinking it, so I’m going to say it. The real du Barry’s charm was partially her doll-like features and ultra blonde hair, which is not exactly Maïwenn’s look | François-Hubert Drouais, Portrait of Madame du Barry (1743-1793), 18th century, via Wikimedia Commons
This Pretty Woman version strips down to an ultra modern bustier type undergarment. They couldn’t spring for metal grommets?
Jeanne excites everyone by crawling on a table, then finishes triumphantly by showing off her Kim-Basinger-goes-to-the-Oscars-in-1990 white satin dress.
Basinger at the Oscars, 1990, for reference.
Next, she’s introduced at Versailles. Somewhere she found a platinum blonde lace-front wig which she’s had styled into a loose, wavy concoction that looks like it’s about to fall apart at any moment. She’s also rocking the sewn-in stomacher.
The epic train is accurate for French court dress, at least.
I like the diamond feather brooch. The necklace looks turn-of-the-20th-century at the earliest. The wave is like a postmodern version of the 1930s Marcel wave.
The courtiers are all dressed in the realm of normal for the period. Despite it being 1768, their hairstylists all seem to think it’s 1755, while du Barry’s thinks it’s 1777.
I think these are Louis’s adult daughters, who are in mourning for some reason. The one on the left looks like she just escaped from Madame Bovary.
Saint-Cyr [edit:] Parc au Cerfs girls, I presume? The “school” that doubled as a private brothel full of young women and girls for Louis. Hairpins nonexistent.
Speaking of hairpins…
Marie-Antoinette, maybe? Someone turned one of those paper doll chains into a choker for her.
Hey she can put her hair up! Unfortunately it’s a side-parted style that would work for 1910 at the earliest. Loving the contrast-highlighted princess seams.
Climb those stairs, comtesse. Maybe you’ll find some powder at the top of them.
How are YOU feeling about the Jeanne du Barry trailer?
The trailer made me go WTF, not just for the lack of hairpins and bad costumes, but the actress being 20+ years too old for the part (and looking so gaunt / so not that period aesthetic). But, like, she cast herself, so it’s a vanity project…
The actress who plays Marie-Anoinette (with the paper doll choker) would have made a fine du Barry.
Came here to say this. She would have been perfect.
Yea, I feel like if you are going to do vanity projects it would help to have a smidgen of self-awareness about it. The actress playing Marie looks uncannily like the portrait of du Barry! Just cast her and play a different part yourself!
She does look abit to old for the part and skinny. Why didn’t she fix her hair. It is too messy it would have been better if they dyed it blond and put some conditioner on it.
She gives me “starved Vegan” vibes, which isn’t great for period drama parts in a time period when they idolized round faces and soft curves.
Maiwenn has a very modern look.
The paper doll choker is weird, but the actress playing Marie Antoinette looks exactly like the portrait of the real du Barry.
Oh, and do we see skirt hiking at the end there?
It’s not a documentary🤣
Directors take creative license to tell the story they went to tell.
It doesn’t even have to be factual, Tarantino killed Hitler in the middle of WW2 in the Inglorious Bastards movie.
Except IG wasn’t supposed to be a Serious Biopic like this mess.
IB, not IG.When you present historical stuff to be taken seriously, it helps to be accurate. Historical documentaries aren’t very popular, so people get their history watching crap like this.
When watching the trailer I too was shocked by the casting of du Barry. Her appeal to the king was her youth and apparent innocence, which you do not here, The actress playing MA would have been a far better choice.
My eyes! These costumes and hairstyles have guaranteed that I will never watch this film and indeed I rarely bother with historical films despite being passionate about history and even studying it for my degree. It’s so sad.
So much of this looks like those 19th century fashions that were inspired by 18th century looks…
I adore Madame Du Barry (historical person); I adore her so much I actually have a picture of Madame Du Barry in my car!! I am extremely disappointed to see this video. The woman who plays Madame Du Barry looks nothing like her. I’m sure this movie is going to be a huge disappointment for me and for people who are interested in true historical movies.
“I do feel bad for Maïwenn as increasingly-horrendous Depp was apparently a total shitshow on set. That being said, I assume she played a role in casting the superstar spousal-abuser, so my sympathy is somewhat limited.”
OTOH, if you go to her Wikipedia page, there’s apparently been SO MUCH abuse in her entire lifetime that working with Depp would’ve been a vacation.
In the interests of making a little mischief, may one ask if the hair seen on du Barry in this trailer makes ‘Rococo Barbie’ from MARIE ANTOINETTE 2023 look positively authentic by comparison?
SLIGHTLY. Only SLIGHTLY. This is “postmodern beachy du Barry.”
I just… To Jail, everyone involved with this production! Except for Mr Depp, he’s going to a HS Prison! >:)
I just… To Jail, everyone involved with this production! Except for Mr Depp, he’s going to a HS Prison! >:
What’s is HS Prison?
Kathy Burt, I imagine high security prison.
All I see is Snark Week fodder! >:)
For multiple reasons, I was hoping that this would be more about her life post-Versailles.
St. Cyr was the girls’ school founded by Madame de Maintenon.
I believe you mean the Parc aux Cerfs, the brothel that supplied Louis XV with teenage girls. See https://dbpedia.org/page/Parc-aux-Cerfs
Duh, you’re right! Updating!
According to the comments on the trailer, it’s the best thing ever! I feel like I watched something very different than them. No chemistry between the actors. Gotta wonder how this will actually do at the Cannes.
OMG, I just watched the trailer after reading this post. Honestly, this whole concept seems like a mess. I’ve only seen one other film directed by Maiween, Le Bal Des Actrices, listed in English on IMDB as All About Actresses, and it was passable–a good concept with OK execution. Looks like the same thing might’ve happened here. I may watch it.
There’s this weird tradition of portraying Du Barry as this womanly brunette in movies though (sometimes with very black hair, even), I wonder if it’s because she’s supposed to be a foil to young, doll-like Marie Antoinette? Brunette vs. blonde, experienced vs. innocent, French vs. German etc. So childish. We can understand the differences between two blonde women. As a brunette myself, I love seeing one on screen, but not at the cost of accuracy.
This movie is probably one of the most WTFrockish ones I’ve seen recently, for sure.
That’s a really good point. Apparently audiences are too dumb to tell two blondes apart?
I’m pretty sure that I read an article (fairly recently) that Cynthia Nixon was asked to die her hair red for Sex and the City so that there wouldn’t be too many blondes in the cast! Oh dear. As we couldn’t’ve told those actresses apart either! And I think that she was only natural blonde in the cast anyway!
If this eye sore gets critical acclaim for costumes, this will affirm my suspicion that critics are bought by the producers. I haven’t seen such crappy costumes in a long time and the director must have been really very confident in herself to think that she would be visually a good Du Barry …
The costumes are looking very strange. I hate this hat on Louis XV’s heat.
oh my God, what a mess! I feel the costumes are just out of place. The hair is just not fitting in. They are just after Du Barry’s time. The costumes are not lively as one would expect from that period. They had birds in their hair for heaven sakes;)
It’s horrendous, save the architecture, location, presentation dress and white ostrich feathers! Those well-acquainted with me know very well how close I hold the beautiful Jeanne du Barry to heart- the day I read her biography I was seduced (which is nothing considering her :D). A biopic of Madame du Barry was something I truly longed for, so imagine the thrills I got when I first read of its possible happening, and the utter distress I felt when I saw this sorry excuse for an 18th century themed movie! I mean come on! 18th century France by the French should really be utter perfection! It was France’s golden-est era for crying out loud!!!!!!
If you want to make a movie interpretation of something historical, make sure you have the suitable funds and the perfect research for it!!!!! This movie had so much potential, wasted away like flushed toilet water >:(
I meant (which is nothing *NEW considering her…)
JD has not done a good movie in 20 years. But this one looks a new low. Historical accuracy is so EASY for well documented periods like this. Who funded this crap? Maiwenn really? This is the best you could do?