12 thoughts on “Napoleon (2023)

  1. My first thought (I haven’t seen it yet) about her gowns is that they’re just a bit too ‘tailored to fit’. If you look at surviving gowns or contemporary pictures like the ones you have provided, they’re mostly made to fit by gathering, draping, looping-up and so on; curved seams are minimally used.

    BTW, you could have added Kingdom of Heaven to your more-fantasy-than-historical category; Janty Yates was quite frank that she had deliberately based the costumes on 19th-century French romantic medievalism, not on anything from the real Middle Ages. (The movie’s plot was a politicised fantasy, too.)

  2. I wanted so much to watch this movie but the reviews were so bad that I was discouraged. I believe they are supposed to release a full version of the movie (on Apple TV) with no cuts that might hopefully be more consistent though insanely long… apart from the costumes, did you enjoy it?

    1. It’s not the worst Napoléon movie, but it’s a handsome candidate for maybe third or fourth worst. The title of the worst belongs firmly to Eagle in a Cage (1972), which defends that claim like it was Hougoumont.

      Make no mistake, though: Napoleon (2023) is a bad movie. Just in terms of filmmaking. It’s baffling A-listers produced something like this.

      Joaquin Phoenix absolutely played Napoléon like a mumbling old man who wandered into open traffic.

      It’s not just that it’s truncated. What’s there is terrible. Nothing about it makes you think, “I want more of this dirty bullshit.”

  3. Austerlitz is a pretty good battle, and there are some nice visuals. It’s not boring. But, as a long-time fan of Josephine–in my opinion, a woman afflicted by PTSD, who survived by not only by her charm, but her intelligence, which most contemporaries ignored–I was really irritated that yet another actress was cast opposite a guy almost old enough to be her father, especially as Josephine was was six years older than that skinny little Corsican dude.

    1. “…yet another actress was cast opposite a guy almost old enough to be her father…”

      I’m not a fan of the standard older actor/younger actress pairings either, but– according to Wikipedia, Joaquin Phoenix was born October 28, 1974, while Vanessa Kirby was born April 18, 1988.

      If those dates are correct, and assuming a typical nine months’ gestation– that would mean he would’ve had to have fathered her roughly three months before his 13th birthday.

      1. Yes, that’s why I wrote “almost.” And more precisely, on screen he looks about 20 years older than Kirby. Phoenix is simply not young enough to convincingly play N.B.

  4. It’s a minor nitpick since apparently she’s barely on screen, but I have to scream internally about this depiction of Marie Antoinette:

    Marie Antoinette screenshot

    Since it is SO 100% OPPOSITE the known descriptions and David’s sketch.

  5. I had low expectations based on the trailer but the movie managed to surpass them in terms of how shite it is. Terrible storytelling, acting, pacing, basic logic. Did a 14-year-old write this script?

    The characterization of Napoléon and Joséphine is just laughably stupid. Napoléon leaving Egypt for her, annulling their marriage before the Treaty of Tilsit (which makes no sense and skips the actual cause of their annulment), and Napoléon coming back to France in 1815… to see a woman he knew had been dead for over half a year? Right.

    I’ve seen all kinds of depictions of black powder warfare. Everything from the dirt cheap Napoléon (1955) to the god-awful The Patriot (2000), to The Chess Player (1927) to Seobe (Migrations) (1989) which doesn’t even have English subtitles yet. I have to say: this is unequivocally the most dumbass depiction of black powder warfare I’ve ever seen. Never mind not resembling the historical battles; the battles don’t even intrinsically make sense.

    But worst of all – worst of all – Napoléon complimenting English cooking? Napoléon.

    Oh piss off.

  6. I read that Phoenix is a vegan and demanded that his costumes be made of non-animal derived products. The fancy buttons (for instance, on his green coat in the top photo) were constructed by a FB friend, so I asked her about it. She confirmed it was true- she had to substitute rayon for silk. That wasn’t so difficult for her but was very challenging for the people who made his “wool” garments and “leather” goods.

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