Run time: 117 mins

Wigs abound as King Louis XV’s infatuation with a sexy, smart courtesan makes for an entertaining and well-crafted costume drama with plenty of satirical bite.

Jeanne du Barry (Maiwenn, who also directs) is a young woman from a very humble background who, partly through chance, ends up at the Palace of Versailles. She is abominably treated by many of the men she encounters but has enough wit and humour to get ahead all the same. After the king (Johnny Depp) takes a shine to her, Jeanne is forced to undergo a humiliating gynecological examination before a doctor pronounces her “worthy of the royal bed”. Yet with the declining of the king’s health, Jeanne’s powerbase dwindles and calamity looms.

Maiwenn recreates a very hierarchical world, in which every look, gesture and word has hidden meaning. Everybody is plotting against everybody else. It’s regarded as bad form to show emotion.

Jeanne du Barry lays bare the absurdity and chauvinism of court life. It is a preposterous confection of a film, like one of the rich sweetmeats being languidly nibbled in the courts, but very moreish, nonetheless.

Thursday 30th May
07:30 pm