“The colors of Versailles will be the heart of our kingdom with gardens exquisite and matchless in beauty. Heaven shall be here.” – Alan Rickman as Louis XIV.
When I saw the trailer for “A Little Chaos,” I longed to spend a sunny afternoon in this garden. It would be a celebration of a blog I had completed on heritage gardening.
I loved how the writer just let herself dream: What if a free-spirited woman was hired to design the fountains in the garden of Versailles? How would she fit in with courtiers at the Louvre? What if she met the king himself?
Perhaps that’s what intrigued director Alan Rickman. He shared how the script caught his attention, “If you know a lot about history, you know that a lot of it is true. If you know a lot you’ll also know a lot of it is nonsense. It couldn’t have happened. A lot of it did happen. I found that absolutely fascinating that someone could look at history that way… to tell a very human and modern story. They’re walking around in 17th century costumes. But I think they’re talking like normal people.”
Sometimes you just have to let go (of all reason and logic) and let a movie sweep over you. I got caught up in the passion and imagination of the writer and her character Sabine de Barra (Kate Winslet). Impossibly set in 1682 – no matter - I loved being in that world. Watching her gain the respect of her handsome boss, her fellow landscapers, the court, and eventually Louis XIV played by, no other than Alan Rickman. A lovely, lovely fantasy.
On the second viewing, I was distracted from my bliss by what I felt was an unnecessary subplot about the death of her child. Later, I realized that it helped her relate to the other lady courtiers. They had all experienced loss. A beautiful symbol of the lost loved ones were the colored, shiny baubles and trinkets hanging from branches in the woods. This was, “A Little Chaos.”
There is a line in the movie when the King’s landscaper sees her garden and asks, “This abundance of chaos is your Eden?” She replies, “My search for it.” Perhaps, “A Little Chaos” is Alan Rickman’s search for Eden.
Rickman's love project is a fitting goodbye. I’m grateful to Alan Rickman for sharing a little heaven with me. A shiny bauble hangs from a branch for him.