Set in the heart of Paris in 1682, A Little Chaos tells the tale of young, beautiful yet courageous Sabine de Barra (Kate Winslet), a female garden designer who is surprised when given the chance to design the new gardens for King Louis XIV. Andre Le Notre, (Matthais Schoenaerts) the master landscaper, is taken aback by Sabine's lack of classical order and opinionated manner yet becomes intrigued with her strength and capabilities as a female within a world of powerful men. Despite being a married man, it is not long before Andre is pursuing Sabine romantically, seemingly drawn to her resilient and mysterious nature.
Andre's marriage is nothing but an open arrangement, dictated by his social climbing wife Madame Le Notre (Helen McCrory). Despite her own bed-hopping behaviour she becomes consumed with jealousy at the blossoming connection between Andre and Sabine, causing her to sabotage the beautiful Rockwork Garden project the pair had been working on.
The romantic entanglement between Andre and Sabine is slow forming to say the least, yet their passion for each other appears to flourish in the best of moments. Sabine is suffering through an unspeakable pain that causes much hesitation on her side. Her gentleness and compassion is bought forward through her own personal struggle she has been dealing with over many years, playing out for audiences to see as the film progresses.
Kate Winslet brings both grace and poise to the role of Sabine, while portraying the beautiful strength that lies within the character. In a time where women were considered inferior to the power of a man, Sabine's character challenges these beliefs as she portrays courage and bravery while continuing to remain a lady of elegance.
If there is one reason why you should see this movie it's for the impeccable style and fashion of the 16th century. The beautiful and elegant corsets worn by the ladies are absolutely to die for. Placing emphasis on the waist, these corsets are effectively able to show one's figure in the classiest of ways.
The fashion was big, even back then, as hats and belts were often used as statement pieces. Gowns were magnificently designed to perfection while bold choices of attire for men were all the go. Think white tights, golden jackets and flamboyant shoes and you'll have every male in this movie down pat. Even in the era of the 16th century it seems as though fashion was a simple way for one to express themselves.
Despite the endearing love triangle and powerful story within A Little Chaos, it was the fashionable style within this movie that truly made me wish I could have been a woman of the 16th century. Maybe one day we will see white gloves and tightly-waisted corsets come back into fashion, until then the image of Alan Rickman in white tights will be forever embedded in my memory.
Words by Bernice Kelly