18 thoughts on “18th Century Quest: Manon Lescaut (2013)

  1. The only good thing to be said about this is that it spawned not one, but two superb operas: one by Massenet and one by Puccini.

  2. I’ve read the book a long time ago, but the one thing I remembered from it was that poor Manon had no agency whatsoever. The only “decision” she made was that if she had to be miserable no matter what, she was not going to be poor on top of it.
    So of course she had to be punished for it.
    As for the costume, I have one word for ya: Lazyness.

  3. “I feel like someone wandered into the costume stock warehouse and got deeply, deeply confused.” — this seems to be the problem for a number of things in this flick.

    The HAIR. Including the stubble/mustaches.. GEEZ.

    I feel like intended moral is fine (honestly, what made The Favourite so uncomfortable for me was really the way people were so well off and yet so dissolute). But why does it have to be about a poor girl getting ahead? Is it to keep the lower classes down or, less negatively, to warn them that the haves also have serious problems and it’s better for the soul to be a peasant? If the purpose is to show how these things ruin the life, show it at the expense of the rich men, not the poor girl who gets sold, etc.

      1. yes, a bit of obvious answer is obvious, lol. although showing a rich dissolute woman would also be ok with me. I just am annoyed at punching down instead of up when it comes to vices of wealth.

        1. Then again, a lot of rich women had little or no agency either – the whole ‘stick your daughter in a convent till you’ve arranged her marriage shortly after puberty’ thing. If you were stuck for life with someone you didn’t like at all from the age of 16 or so, and had dutifully pumped out an heir and a spare for his benefit, a bit of dissoluteness was often about all you could do to cheer yourself up for the rest of your life.

          1. I think in my hierarchy of who deserves criticism for dissolute behavior and attachment to riches, rich men are absolutely on top. I would just also put criticizing rich women as more justified than criticizing poor women for what’s in effect the sins of wealth, as it may have been understood. I think I would also rank rich women above poor men on that. I was trying to come up with a comparison but I’m not sure I can think of a dissolute poor male character off the top of my head who isn’t a criminal or terribly cruel… but I do feel like it’d be easier to feel compassion for, say, Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire than a poor but not malicious alcoholic, even though his sufferings be perhaps greater. The only modern novel I can think of that manages to make poor people sympathetic without making them idealized is The Book Thief. It’s interesting to think about the different effects of sex, class, etc.

  4. Does one anachronistic chemise mean that this fails the Lorraine Test, or barely passes it? Discuss.

  5. There’s a wonderful ballet based on this story. The costuming in the ballet is more accurate them this film.

  6. Seeing the screencaps has me flash back to Karolina Zebrowska parodies. Especially the “who cares about period, show us the bewbz” ones.

  7. The pictures gave me the impression of an low budget TV-production, although not the same quality like those odd German productions like “Trenck – Zwei Herzen gegen die Krone”.

  8. Boy these costumes suck. When are we going to get a show set in the 1730s that’s costumed accurately, with round hoops, casaquin jackets, mantuas, and robe volantes? Instead we have this generic mish-mash of costumes of late 18th century and Edwardian and fantasy styles. Hell, even the men’s jackets aren’t cut correctly for the period. (They are cut far too tightly, and the cuffs are much too small.)

  9. In the “Love Done Over” costume (the yellow one) that you said was fairly accurate, is that skirt accurate or is it just a weird angle? It looks very Edwardian, and I’ve never seen anything like that in the 18th century.

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