Alan Rickman’s second film as director, following The Winter Guest, is an unashamedly crowd-pleasing period drama with a terrific central performance from Kate Winslet.

Winslet plays Sabine De Barra, a widowed landscape gardener in 1682 Paris, who’s commissioned to work on the gardens of Versailles after she impresses chief landscape architect André Le Notre (Matthias Schoenaerts). However, their increasingly close relationship provokes the fury of Le Notre’s scheming wife (Helen McCrory), despite the fact that she has already insisted on an open relationship that allows for assignations at the court of King Louis XIV (Rickman).

Winslet is wonderful as De Barra. She generates touching chemistry with Schoenaerts and there’s fine comic support from Stanley Tucci as the king’s flamboyant brother. What A Little Chaos lacks in historical accuracy it makes up for in sheer entertainment, thanks to strong performances, an emotionally engaging story and confident direction.

Matthew Turner

The List

With special guest Alan Rickman

Please note that the festival is for over 18s only