Diane Kruger’s Portrayal Of Marie Antoinette Stuns Critics: Actress Earns Rave Reviews For Complex Performance As Troubled Queen

Diane Kruger‘s preparation for her role as Marie Antoinette in Farewell, My Queen caused the actress to shed some of her assumptions about the infamous historical figure and delve deeper into a holistic understanding of the poorly-regarded queen.

When she was handed the script to her latest film, she figured she’d be portraying the clueless and spoiled Antoinette as history and popular culture regard her, reports the Kansas City Star. Then she did some digging. “I didn’t want to judge her,” Kruger said of portraying Antoinette. “People-historians – have already done that.” The 36-year-old actress continued, “You read in Stefan Zwieg’s biography (“Marie Antoinette: The Portrait of an Average Woman”) that the minute she heard about the Bastille, it dawned on her that this was the end of the life they had known,” Kruger says. “She realized this sooner than the king, faster than many of those at court. And she took more seriously her responsibilities as from that point, too late, as it turned out. She had a moment when she ‘manned up’ and became a real queen.”

It was this understanding that informed Kruger’s performance in the film about Antoinette as observed through the eyes of her favorite servant. “I had heard about Gabrielle de Polignac, her closest friend,” Kruger says. “I read that there were rumors that they might have been lovers. What isn’t a rumor was that Marie got Gabrielle out just in time to save her from the guillotine. She had to worry about her own safety and her family’s safety, but all she seemed to care about was saving her friend or her love.”

Diane Kruger as Marie Antoinette

One of the first people Kruger turned to for advice on the role was Karl Lagerfeld, reports the LA Times. “I’ve known him since I was 16 years old and today he’s both a friend and a neighbor,” she said. “He is obsessed with Versailles and Marie Antoinette. When I got the part of the queen he was one of the first people I called, and I walked over to his home and picked his brain for inspiration.”

Karl Lagerfeld and Diane Kruger

Whatever she did for the role, it seemed to work, as reviewers are completely smitten with the film. The Hollywood Reporter called Kruger in Farewell, My Queen “charismatic,” and the LA Times complimented Kruger’s Marie Antoinette as “quixotic, quicksilver … a creature of ever-changing whims.”

Here’s the trailer for Farewell, My Queen, featuring Diane Kruger as Marie Antoinette: