Marie Antoinette (2006)
This, my friends, is the very first shot in the movie. Love her or hate her, Sofia Coppola has a masterful understanding of the importance of cake in cinema. Gender issues, class issues, ominous foreshadowing — it’s all here from frame one.
Thanks to Coppola we see that Marie’s life is devoid of any profound personal attachments, so to keep from losing her mind, she channels her love and devotion into utterly trivial, superficial things. Shoes, candy, mansions — for a person to whom money means nothing, all pleasures are interchangeable, there is no standard by which one qualifies them except one’s own delight. Meanwhile, she herself is a fetish object. Her value is determined by her appearance, her rank, and her fertility. As a sweet, decorative and ultimately disposable bauble, she becomes cake incarnate.
It’s only fitting that such a person would become forever (erroneously) associated with the pastry. Coppola grants our heroine a reprieve, allowing us to glimpse her reaction to the famous line as it is reported in the newspaper. By the end of the film Marie seems to be on the verge of developing a taste for reality, looking beyond the pink-frosted castle walls to see what life is like for the 99% outside. But it’s too little, too late, and Marie is taken away from us before we ever learn whether she can truly be rehabilitated.