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A Little Chaos 

Wednesday, Jun 24 2015
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As California moves into a drought-friendly future of cactus-and-rock lawns — brown is the new green, y'all — director Alan Rickman's A Little Chaos is like a torrent of gardening porn, verdant and awash in millions of gallons of wasted water. Granted, it takes place in 1862 France, where ace landscape designer and atypically independent woman Sabine De Barra (Kate Winslet) gets brought on by hunky gardener André Le Notre (Matthias Schoenaerts) to work for King Louis XIV (Rickman) on building an aqueduct to Versailles in hopes of alleviating a severe water shortage. (Timelier and timelier!). Rickman keeps the tone fluffy and occasionally self-aware, and even more so than most costume dramas, you always get the feeling that everyone's playing dress-up. Stanley Tucci as Philippe, Duc d'Orleans, is openly enjoying it the most, because Tucci's great like that. Told mostly from Sabine's point of view, the picture is ultimately about her societally impractical flirtations with Andre, but perhaps because Rickman himself is an actor and is more concerned with performance than titillation, there's something refreshing about the fact that not only is Kate Winslet in her late 30s, her leading man is two years younger. Still, it's probably too much to hope that A Little Chaos signals the end of the drought of good roles for aging actresses.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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