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The Affair of the Necklace Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Slipshod rather than sly. There's no fury to the movie, repressed or otherwise, which may be why when the Revolution arrives, it has all the impact of a guillotine with a deadly dull blade.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    The storytelling is hopelessly compromised by the movie's decision to sympathize with Jeanne. We can admire someone for daring to do the audacious, or pity someone for recklessly doing something stupid, but when a character commits an act of stupid audacity, the admiration and pity cancel each other, and we are left only with the possibility of farce.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune John Petrakis

    Rife with wrong people in major jobs, which leads to a movie that lacks the requisite verve to make to it sparkle.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    The affair may have raised eyebrows all over 18th century Paris, but it's not likely to elicit more than a shrug from 21st century moviegoers.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 14+

Mature themes, big stars in French Rev. intrigue.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there is brief female toplessness in what looks like a drug-sodden aristocratic orgy. The (unhappily married) heroine tries to have sex with her boyfriend; later her husband does the same with an actress. Violence includes shooting, beating, and kicking, soldiers executing a man, and a public whipping, branding, and execution by guillotine, though the filmmakers refrain from plunging us into all the ugly details; it's mostly quick MTV-style edits. One character is a corrupt, sexually active Catholic cardinal. Kids making the real-life Jeanne de la Motte-Valois their school-report heroine should know that historians (and even earlier movie adaptations) regard her negatively -- a dodgy con-artist, rather than the romanticized avenger admired here.

  • Families can talk about the real-life circumstances of the French Revolution, and how the incidents of this film figure into it. You could research the fall of the monarchy, and perhaps fact-check whether this movie exaggerated the importance of the "necklace affair" or not, and maybe look into other screen portrayals or biographies of Marie Antoinette and her downfall. Did she get a royal raw deal, or was she asking for it? Are there any similar celebrities (or first ladies) around today?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: The script makes a heroine out of Jeanne and justifies her lies, forgeries, and impostures as a means of getting back what was stolen from her -- though how her scheme is supposed to really do that gets lost in the intrigue. In the trial finale the various conspirators are judged and punished for their crimes, and it's hard not to agree with the sentences (even if the filmmakers obviously don't). A Catholic cardinal is a sex-mad hypocrite. Marital fidelity doesn't mean much here.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: One character shot (in an embarrassing place). Others are threatened with bullets or evisceration by knife. Quick, impressionist scenes of violence include soldiers battering through a house, beating, kicking, and killing residents; a whipping and a branding with a hot poker; and a grim procession to the guillotine for a condemned prisoner being executed. These are shown in quick bursts, without graphic bloodshed, though there's no doubt what's going on.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Lots of cleavage-baring fashions and push-up corsets, with a quick shot of toplessness in a languid, drunken orgy-type atmosphere. The heroine is not very faithful in her marriage (nor is her husband). She strips down in shadow for sex with her new lover, but their act is interrupted. A clergyman with a corrupt reputation appears to try to force her into oral sex.

  • language false0

    Language: Not an issue

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: No brand names, but diamonds are fondled lovingly and often.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Hookah-style pipes in what appears to be an 18th-century drug party. Social and private bon-vivant drinking.