The setting is the court of France during the reign of Louis XVI, where Marie Antoinette has just refused to accept a massive diamond necklace (which was originally intended for a rival). Jeanne de Valois, who has reason to hate the royals, designs a scheme involving the 2800-carot necklace: Using the ambitious and unsuspecting Cardinal de Rohan as a pawn, Jeanne comes to possess the jewels, but the plan backfires with disastrous results.
The movie is based on a true story, but the facts are twisted and the plot so complicated that I had a hard time understanding it or even caring. Jeanne should have been the villain of the case, but instead she's made to be a pathetic victim and brave heroine, and it doesn't make sense. The narration tells us that the affair of the necklace was a huge contributing factor in Marie Antoinette's downfall, but there's nothing in the plot to show this.
The casting of Hillary Swank as Jeanne and Adrien Brody as her husband was a big mistake; they're both too contemporary and ungainly to play in this delicate period piece and they look out of place. No expense was spared for the opulent Oscar-nominated costumes and the magnificent sets, but the movie is a major clunker thanks to its confusing script.
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