Apparently, in the buttoned-up world of 17th Century France, even the effortlessly classy and graceful Kate Winslet is considered unrefined. As Sabine De Barra, Winslet is a landscaper from the countryside who throws the upper crust into a tizzy when she introduces “a little chaos” to the gardens of Versailles. An examination of the gender and class struggles of the time, A Little Chaos is the second directorial effort from Alan Rickman. The film also stars Helen McCrory, a scene-stealing Stanley Tucci, and Matthias Schoenaerts, who’s been making the period piece rounds this year (see also: Far From The Madding Crowd and Suite Française). A Little Chaos opens in Chicago on June 26, but The A.V. Club and Focus Features have an opportunity for you to see it for free on June 22. For your chance to win a pair of passes to the advance screening, simply follow the link here and enter your information. As always, seats will be first come, first served, so be sure to arrive early. An official plot synopsis and trailer for the film can be found below.
“The year is 1682. Sabine De Barra (Kate Winslet), a strong-willed and talented landscape designer, fulfills her chosen vocation in the gardens and countryside of France. One day, an unexpected invitation comes: Sabine is in the running for an assignment at the court of King Louis XIV (Mr. Rickman). Upon meeting with her, the King’s renowned landscape artist André Le Notre (Matthias Schoenaerts) is initially disturbed by Sabine’s distinctive eye and forward-thinking nature, but eventually chooses Sabine to build one of the main gardens at The Sun King’s new Palace of Versailles. Under pressure of time and as she charts her own course, Le Notre comes to recognize the value of “a little chaos” in Sabine’s process.
While pushing herself and her workers to complete the Rockwork Grove as an outdoor ballroom, Sabine negotiates the perilous rivalries and intricate etiquette of the court. As she challenges gender and class barriers. Sabine forges a surprising connection with the King himself, and wins a vote of confidence from the King’s brother, Philippe (Stanley Tucci). As she gradually comes to terms with a tragedy in her past, Sabine’s professional and personal interactions with André bring out honesty, compassion, and creativity in both of them.”