A Little Chaos (Blu-ray Review)

Little ChaosAcademy Award-winner Kate Winslet stars in this romantic drama as Sabine, a strong-willed and talented landscape designer, who is chosen to build one of the main gardens at the new palace at Versailles in the court of King Louis XIV (Alan Rickman). In her new position of power, she challenges gender and class barriers while also becoming professionally and romantically entangled with the court’s renowned landscape artist André Le Notre (Matthias Schoenaerts). 

A Little Chaos


A Little Chaos is Alan Rickman’s second foray into directing having previously directed The Winter Guest way back in 1997. A Little Chaos stars Kate Winslet (Titanic) and Matthias Schoenaerts (Far From the Madding Crowd). Winslet plays Madame Sabine De Barra, a landscape designer of sorts – for all intents and purposes – she’s a landscape architect. She’s fiercely independent and has no problem getting dirty when it comes to one of her projects.

When she puts in designs for King Louis XIV’s (Alan Rickman) new garden installation – she’s met with some doubt and resistance by the head court’s designer, Andre Le Notre (Matthias Schoenaerts). These were very strange and archaic times and it was unheard of there being a female landscape design artist in any of the ranks. In any event Andre likes her peculiarities as an artist, because she doesn’t necessarily subscribe to the law of order in her designs. I believe that’s where the play on words in the title of the film are derived from.

Rickman plays Louis with panache and wit that is truly his trademark. He does it well and is a pretty fleshed out character. He’s peppered throughout the film, so he’s more than just a cameo. Madame Sabine’s character also deals with past traumas by immersing herself in the work she is to do for the King but we only get what appear to be distorted flashbacks and subtle hints throughout.

The eventual romance that develops between Sabine and Andre never comes off phony but it does take a long while to develop mainly due to Sabine’s hesitation. She has some obvious issues that she has to get past with relation to those past traumas that I mentioned before.

I thought A Little Chaos was an entertaining little romp of a film. Matthias Schoenaerts is everywhere these days – he was cool in Far From the Madding Crowd and is superb in Bullhead. Here’s hoping he continues his successful reign in the films by tackling even more diverse characters. Alan Rick does well for himself as Louis in addition to co-writing and directing the film. You’d never know a “novice” directed it. Kate Winslet’s does well with Sabine’s character in that she has emotional baggage – Winslet is able to convey her sorrow. Maybe it was due to Winslet’s pregnancy at the time – she would have been going through mood swings, I suppose.

A Little Chaos should appeal to those that like the actors involved in addition to those that like period pieces. Whether the film is accurate or not in its depiction is irrelevant, because the final product is entertaining, and that’s all that matters. I should also point out that Stanley Tucci makes a small appearance and pretty much steals every scene he’s in.


A Little Chaos


Encoding: AVC/MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail: A Little Chaos looks terrific on Blu-ray. Contrast and sharpness levels look nice and balanced. I did not detect any instances of intrusive postproduction tweaking.

Depth: The level of depth presented on this Blu-ray is definitely up there from the lush landscapes to the even more immaculate interiors – the Blu-ray shines through.

Black Levels: Crush was not a problem here, as nighttime interiors and exteriors looked deep and inky.

Color Reproduction: The color palette is lush – every outdoor landscape that is filled with greenery leaps out at the viewer.

Flesh Tones: Everyone looked nice and healthy. As was customary at the time even the men wore make-up and they looked great in it.

Noise/Artifacts: The image is clean as can be.

A Little Chaos


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Dynamics: A Little Chaos is looked fantastic and has an almost equal counterpart in the audio department. No, this isn’t an action packed film – it’s a drama but the lossless surround track does do the film justice in its entire high definition splendor.

Low Frequency Extension: There are only a couple of instances where actual LFE bass is used and they’re used in great effect. The majority of the film does not use the subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation: Ambience is handled relatively well by the rear channels.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is crystal clear and I had no problems understanding what the characters were saying.


A Little Chaos


There are no special features included on this Blu-ray release, with the exception of a Digital HD Copy.

  • Digital HD UltraViolet & iTunes Copy


A Little Chaos


A Little Chaos was very entertaining and our cast was great. I think Alan Rickman should write and direct more films. He’s more than capable behind the camera. The Blu-ray is above average in terms of video and audio but drops the ball in the special features department. If you want a simple diversion then A Little Chaos is more than fitting.




A Little Chaos is available on Blu-ray & DVD!



A Little Chaos


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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