A Little Chaos

A Little Chaos


From incredible passion grows incredible beauty.

Actor Alan Rickman directs Oscar-winner Kate Winslet in this British period drama about a landscape gardener who wins the contract to construct the grand gardens at Versailles for King Louis XIV. Rickman also co-stars as King Louis, alongside Stanley Tucci and Jennifer Ehle.... More

Madame Sabine De Barra (Winslet) is an unlikely candidate to be the landscape architect of the still-to-be-completed palace of Versailles. She has little time for the classical designs of the man who hires her; the famous architect Le Notre (Matthias Schoenaerts). However, as she works on her creation, she finds herself drawn to the enigmatic Le Notre and forced to negotiate the perilous rivalries and intricate etiquette of the court of King Louis XIV. Sabine's honesty and compassionate nature help to overcome both the challenges of her new-found popularity and an unspeakable tragedy from her past to win the favour of the Sun King and the heart of Le Notre.Hide

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Flicks Review

Although A Little Chaos doesn’t shy away from romance entirely, the bodices most at risk of ripping in this period drama are those sported by Kate Winslet while she gets her hands dirty working on a new addition to the gardens of Versailles. As Sabine De Barra, scoring the highly contested gig to spruce up King Louis XIV’s backyard, Winslet’s a pleasantly capable, self-possessed presence and something of a rarity in that she’s the only woman seen doing any actual work (though this is perhaps unsurprising for landscape gardeners circa 17th Century).... More

This rare directorial effort from actor Alan Rickman - only his second after 1997’s The Winter Guest - unfolds at an unhurried pace, and pleasantly shies away from being overbearing about the challenges De Barra’s gender presents. Instead of emphasising misogyny, A Little Chaos focuses more on De Barra’s campaign to bend others to her ideas and the physical and political impediments to their execution.

A few sub-plots abound – a possible romantic entanglement with chief gardener André Le Nôtre (Matthias Schoenaerts); lingering grief from an incident in De Barra’s past; and the competitive bed-swapping intrigue that members of the court occupy themselves with. Mostly though, it’s the tale of a gutsy gardener that’s as sumptuous in setting and costume as you’d expect, and a more restrained take on French royalty than most. As an added bonus, Rickman dons wig and imperious attitude as King Louis XIV, a role that suits him to a tee, though the film belongs to Winslet and her mucking-in attitude.Hide

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The Press Reviews

80% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • Winslet manages emotional honesty within anachronistic confines, and Schoenaerts escapes with dignity. Full Review

  • Winslet’s mix of grace, gumption and private sadness is the chief reason to keep watching, but she deserves a more dynamic film. Full Review

  • Too often, helmer Rickman galumphs through what’s meant to be a witty romp, underlining the script’s most obvious, rigged qualities. Full Review

  • It lacks real dramatic edge and may be seen as a typical British period costume film, but it is also a classily made pleasure that will delight its target audience. Full Review

  • Sometimes it's awkward, sometimes it works. These singular, detached vignettes keep the film interesting, even as its momentum seems to falter, its purpose to be a little unclear. Full Review

  • Lovely, engaging performances keep the film’s heart beating in a sweet if sometimes listless search for Eden. Full Review

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