Alan Rickman’s romantic period drama A Little Chaos is pure escapism. As such, it ticks the boxes despite some flaws.
Sabine is a talented landscape designer. When she is commissioned to work on one of the gardens at Versailles for King Louis XIV, Sabine is thrown out of her comfort zone with the politics of court, and a burgeoning relationship…
A Little Chaos offers wonderful imagery in its polished vision of a period drama. Visual aesthetics work more successfully than narrative aspects, although viewers should be sufficiently entertained. Director and star Alan Rickman appears to favour gloss over grit in this period piece.
A Little Chaos moves at a suitable pace, with romance occupying the main strand of the film. There is the requisite chemistry between the two main characters, although the script’s attempts to provide friction falls a little flat.
The characterisation of protagonist Sabine is weak. The back story in A Little Chaos suffices only to illustrate why the character would show restraint. Other than this, Sabine is drawn a little too perfect, particularly highlighted by the fact that she is surrounded by imperfect characters.
Humour in the film is entirely welcome. Rickman knows exactly what he is doing with the comedic elements; revelling in the absurdity of it all. As such, A Little Chaos has a strange tone; the deep sighs and corsetry meshing oddly with the pseudo-parody of the period drama. The film touches on the issues of high society of the day, even if some attitudes feel too evolved for the era. Social dynamics are discussed, but not over indulged.
A Little Chaos‘s costumes, sets and styling are marvellous. Cinematography is strong for the most part, although a few shots break with the overall style of the film. Kate Winslet is good as ever in the strong female role she often occupies. Rickman and Stanley Tucci appear to enjoy hamming up their parts.
Entertaining but not wholly satisfying, A Little Chaos is amiable enough viewing. Rickman attempts to reach beyond a straightforward period drama, although it is not clear exactly what he is aiming for.