Napoleon – everything he wasn’t ++ reviews

Napoleon – “lover, tyrant, legend” – is the most famous Frenchman in history though in reality he was Italian. He was known as a great military commander with ambitions to conquer Europe though he lost millions of men and ended a failure in exile. He was renowned for his passionate marriage to Josephine who cuckolded him constantly with other men. All in all a conundrum who is about to feature in yet another movie, this time a Ridley Scott blockbuster starring Joaquin Phoenix.

  Known as the little corporal, he was born in Corsica on 15 August 1769 at 11am Ajaccio, came to prominence during the French Revolution and led successful campaigns during the Revolutionary Wars. He rose from being First Consul from 1799 then Emperor of France. He initiated reforms that have persisted through the years, but has been criticized for his authoritarian rule. The Napoleonic Wars led to the deaths of between three and six million people. He was forced to abdicate in 1814 after a catastrophic military invasion of Russia ended in defeat with one million soldiers and civilians killed. He was exiled to the island of Elba, escaped and his army was again defeated at the Battle of Waterloo. He died on Saint Helena in the Atlantic where he had been exiled for a second time.

  His unlikely wife Josephine was six years older, a widow with two children, blackened stumps for teeth and not attractive but he was obsessed. She cheated on him within weeks of their wedding, yet he refused to give her up.

  He had a 10th house Leo Sun square Jupiter in his 1st house so  not short of showmanship or confidence. But what cemented his military capabilities was an Earth Grand Trine of Mars in Virgo trine Pluto in Capricorn trine a 7th house Uranus, formed into two talented Kites – one with Uranus opposition Jupiter, giving him bountiful luck and self-assurance. The other was Pluto opposition Venus which would fuel his obsessive romantic passions.

  His accentuated Mars Pluto trine would make him ruthless, courageous and ultra-determined with an inventive streak as Uranus joined in. His Jupiter may have been his Achilles Heel with over-confidence bringing him down.

 Josephine, 23 June 1763, whose first husband died at the guillotine, was a fearsomely determined Sun Mars in Cancer opposition Pluto. Her Neptune in Leo was conjunct Napoleon’s Sun so she would mesmerise him, with her Venus Jupiter falling in his 8th house of money and sex. She overspent wildly as well as being unfaithful but he was hooked.  Her Mars Sun and Pluto were tied into his emphasised Venus but it was hardly a match of soulmates.  Their relationship chart has a composite Sun square Uranus and Uranus tied into a Grand Trine to Neptune and Moon Pluto – a highly-strung mix of defiant independence and possessiveness. There is also a Venus Saturn conjunction which is hardly emotionally warm but may have contributed to the highly sexualised nature of their relationship.

Joaquin Phoenix, 28 October 1974 does not echo much of Napoleon’s chart though his Mars, Venus, Sun in Scorpio do fall on Napoleon’s Ascendant (on this birth time).

Reviews: ‘Joaquin Phoenix makes a magnificent emperor in thrilling biopic.’

‘Phoenix is the key to it all: a performance as robust as the glass of burgundy he knocks back: preening, brooding, seething and triumphing.’

30 thoughts on “Napoleon – everything he wasn’t ++ reviews

  1. Along with Joaquin Phoenix and Hannah Waddingham, 1974 produced some talented actors. Leonardo DiCaprio, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Sarah Paulson, Olivia Colman, Mahershala Ali, Giovanni Ribisi, Penélope Cruz, and Hilary Swank were also born that year. Seven acting Oscars on this list.

  2. Josephine was a charming, slender, sophisticated French creole gentlewoman with a love of art and gardens, however not welcome initially by Napoleon’s family who were at least one rung below in the social scale , his mother saw hwer as an older widow intent in using her gifted son.

  3. In the U.S., “homely” definitely means unattractive, especially in terms of describing a woman. I know the word has a different meaning in the U.K.

  4. Les, out of curiosity I looked up your version of the word. You are right except for the spelling. HOMIE is evidently the word that you meant.

  5. Just to let Americans know that here in the UK The word ‘homely’ doesn’t mean plain or ugly. It means the same as the American word ‘homey,’ an adjective describing someone who enjoys home based pursuits or hobbies like cooking, sewing or gardening etc.

    • Hmm, I haven’t ever heard the word ‘homey’ used in the US as someone enjoying home based pursuits. More commonly at least now the term homey is an urban endearment of old friends, the people you grew up with and trust (from ‘home boy’), ‘my homies’. At least in my area the term for someone who enjoys domestic pursuits is ‘homebody’.

    • To be honest in the UK I would take homely as a description of a homebody, probably plump, not sophisticated or well dressed, a touch frumpy dumpy. Good natured and not a beauty.

  6. I enjoyed the silent film directed by Abel Gance when it was shown a few years ago. I remember the crowd listening to the Marseillaise for the first time. I’m not French but they have the best national anthem.

  7. Napoleon was only about 30 when he rose to power. At 49, Phoenix is clearly too old (and too American) to be convincing. And his Brando-esque diffident mumbling seems a poor fit to play a man of great charisma. Surely there is a younger French actor who could have assumed the role.

  8. Fascinating re Napoleon’s obsession with the physically unattractive Josephine. She must have possessed extraordinary confidence, hence her great appeal. Confidence is an aphrodisiac, a huge turn-on. Physical attributes are pretty much irrelevant. It’s all about confidence. Years ago I had a relationship with a man who was nothing at all to look at, to say the least, but I was besotted at the first “Hello.” He had a genuine, effortless sophistication, worldliness…..confidence in spades. Irresistible! In the same context, I’m thinking Wallis Simpson’s confidence is what reeled in Edward. She was by most standards a rather homely woman, but her self-assuredness was remarkable. Moreover, attraction is one of the great mysteries of life. We can’t help who we’re attracted to. The attraction is either there or it’s not. Call it the X Factor. Definitely a mystery why two people are drawn to each other like magnets.

  9. Fun fact: Josephine’s descendants from her first marriage, are on the throne in Sweden.

    Her granddaughter Josefina married King Oscar I of Sweden in 1823. A lot of the jewelry Napoleon made for Josephine thus ended up owned by the Swedish royals. eg the hand-carved cameo tiara that Queen Silvia and Crown Princess Victoria wore to their weddings.

    So Josephine achieved her main objective in marrying Napoleon. She permanently elevated the status of her children and their descendants.

      • The moon is how you make yourself feel happy. Capricorn is an earthy societal sign so it doesn’t do well at feeling its feelings, it bases its happiness on its surroundings.

        If it’s undeveloped (as Napoleon surely was) then it thinks achieving stuff will make it happy. Then when it achieves that goal and finds it isn’t happy, it comes up with a new thing that is causing it unhappiness which needs to be resolved. And so on and so on …

        Throw in Saturn in Cancer to further stunt the emotional development and put them on the MC-IC and you’ve got a recipe for trying to conquer things. And issues with women.

  10. I’m finding Napoleon fascinating lately. I have some similar aspects and house placements that he possessed. I recently watched a fascinating clip describing the similarities between Napoleon and The God, Apollo. It’s too much detail to share here but it was astounding. Evidently, Napoleon’s birth father was a battle commander stationed in Corsica and fathered him, illegitimately. *That apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Napoleon long suspected the man who raised him wasn’t his real father and recent investigations are cementing his suspicions.

  11. Are Corsicans Italians?

    Yes, I know that Napoleon’s family has Italian origins: from Tuscany and Genoa.

    But what do thr Corsicans themselves feel: more Italian or French? Is Corsica like Sardinia, just another Italian island and province, just under the jurisdiction of another state?

    • My first French teacher is Corsican, both parents also born on Corsica. She has an extremely prominant personality, outspoken and defiant. I met both her parents – solid mountains of personality. Plenty of stories about how the Pirates in the Med would drop anchor in Corsica becasue it was so mountainous and difficult to attack. FWIW.

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