Sofia Coppola’s 2006 biopic of Marie Antoinette caused a stir among critics, some of whom objected to its decidedly sketchy rendition of a major historical event such as the French Revolution. Coppola’s close-up approach disturbed those more comfortable with cinematic and televisual period drama that portrays the past as distant, disguising the processes of historical reconstruction. Others considered that she failed to do justice to one of history’s most complex and intriguing figures, condemning the film as a self-indulgent travesty that superimposed the director’s worldview and reduced its subject’s story to a mere fashion accessory. 1 In the years following its initial release, Marie Antoinette, like its ill-fated protagonist, has undergone a process of scholarly reassessment that has placed it with a recent revival of the biopic in which the director’s personal style is uppermost. 2 The controversy surrounding Coppola’s audacious reinvention of the genre threw up familiar issues about cinematic versions of history, connecting the film to wider discussions about the cultural value of postmodernism’s undoing of many of the hallowed dictums of traditional historiography. The contemporary biopic’s elliptical life stories, 213elusive protagonists, and stylized narration have become central to rethinking historical representation.