Ridley Scott bashes French critics who dislike “Napoleon”: “The French don’t even like themselves”

Ridley Scott couldn’t care less if French critics aren’t fans of his newly released biographical war drama “Napoleon.” The film, which stars Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon Bonaparte and Vanessa Kirby as Napoleon’s first wife, Empress Joséphine, has been attacked by several French publications for its historical inaccuracies and casting. 

French GQ, for example, called it “deeply clumsy, unnatural and unintentionally funny” for the showcase to have French characters speaking in American accents. In the same vein, the daily morning newspaper Le Figaro suggested the film should instead be titled “Barbie and Ken Under the Empire.” And Napoleon biographer Patrice Gueniffey told Le Point magazine that Scott made a “very anti-French and very pro-British” rewrite of history.

“The French don’t even like themselves,” Scott told the BBC when asked about the negative reviews. “The audience that I showed it to in Paris, they loved it.”

“Napoleon” premiered at Salle Pleyel in Paris on Nov. 14, and is scheduled to be released in the United States and the United Kingdom on Nov. 22. Earlier this month, Scott went viral for his rather blunt response to TV historian Dan Snow, who called out the film’s factual errors in a TikTok post.

“Get a life,” Scott told Snow and other history experts in an interview with The New Yorker.

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