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Facts and Figures

Run time: 103 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 10th May 2000

Budget: $35M

Distributed by: Miramax

Production compaines: Canal Plus

Reviews 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 31%
Fresh: 10 Rotten: 22

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew


Starring: Gérard Depardieu as Francois Vatel, Uma Thurman as Anne de Montausier, Tim Roth as Marquis de Lauzun, Timothy Spall as Gourville, Julian Glover as Prince de Conde, Julian Sands as Louis XIV, Murray Lachlan Young as Philippe d`Orleans, Hywel Bennett as Colbert, Richard Griffiths as Dr. Bourdelot, Arielle Dombasle as Princess de Conde, Marine Delterme as Athenais de Montespan, Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu as Duchesse de Longueville, Féodor Atkine as Alcalet, Nathalie Cerda as Königin Marie-Therese

Vatel Movie Review

If you've ever heard of Vatel, it's probably only because you remember it was nominated for a Best Art Direction Oscar in 2000. And indeed, this is a lovely film to watch, even on the small screen. What I hadn't counted on was that Vatel would contain a good story with very capable acting, genuinely intriguing -- and based on a historical event, to boot.

Vatel is the central character in a critical weekend in French history (way back in 1671). Played by Gérard Depardieu, Vatel is the chief steward at the mansion of the Prince de Condé, a now penniless French nobleman whose last-ditch effort is to invite King Louis XIV to his estate for the weekend, through a rager of a party, and win the king's favor in order to get the post as general in the upcoming war against the Dutch.

Vatel indeed goes all-out, with decadence befitting a dozen kings -- fireworks, feasts, music, and more. The only obstacle in the event turns out to be Vatel himself.: He's fallen in love with a member of the court (Uma Thurman), who is not only being chased by a Marquis (Tim Roth), but is the subject of the king's eye as well. Vatel's job duties and his station inevitably get in the way, creating a quite compelling drama.

The story lacks complexity, but Depardieu's performance is persuasive and of course the costumes and sets are incredible. Unfortunately, there are too many anachronisms in the film -- did they have iridescent ribbon in 1671? -- and director Roland Joffé explains that he's not overly interested in historical accuracy in the 3-minute documentary included on the DVD, the disc's sole extra.

Both of which are unfortunate.


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Vatel Rating

" Good "


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