A Little Chaos, Alan Rickman’s second film as a director, is a feelgood but thoroughly anachronistic costume romp that inserts a fictional character and a modern sensibility into the 17th-century court of French king Louis XIV.
Kate Winslet’s proto-feminist gardener, Sabine de Barra, gets hired to work on the landscaping of the palace of Versailles and shakes up the ordered world of the king’s chief landscape artist, Maître Le Nôtre (Matthias Schoenaerts), with her desire to bring some of the wildness of nature into his rigidly formal designs.
Rickman’s film, by contrast, runs on entirely predictable lines, and you won’t be surprised to discover a slowly blooming romance for Sabine and Le Nôtre emerging out of the duo’s sudden reversals of fortune and hard-won triumphs.
The disappointingly stiff Schoenaerts is no match for the soulful Winslet, but the court scenes have more spark, with Rickman typically wry as the king, Stanley Tucci flamboyantly camp as the king’s brother, and Jennifer Ehle touching as his about-to-be discarded mistress.
Certificate 12. Runtime 117 mins. Director Alan Rickman.
A Little Chaos is available on digital platforms from 10th August and then on Blu-ray and DVD from 24th August, courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment.