Just like the book, the movie was set in the early 1800's of Paris amid the aftermath of the French Revolution. Along with the novel, the movie sort of elaborates upon the history of France, architecture of Paris, and a little bit of the politics. The French Revolution was a time of great turmoil in French History. It began in 1789 and ended in 1799. During the French Revolution, the previous absolute monarchy and the entire social three estate system was overthrown. The Third Estate was tired of being treated how they were. They wanted more respect and an actual say in the government. They were given a tithe for their crops, which caused them starvation and malnutrition. They had the most trouble paying for bread, while others feasted away. Finally, they began violent revolts.
The architecture of France in the late 1700s through the early 1900s was shown throughout the movie, the clothing people wore and the way buildings looked back then. The time period of France in the movie was Neo-classicism. Architecture was often flip-flops from one extreme to the other, so after the frivolous and light-filled Rococo style (like in most parts of the movie), buildings were pared to classical symmetry. As the reign of Louis XVI began, Paris entered a period of Neo-classicism. The severe style was inspired by Roman and Greek architectural theories. The style also reflects a desire for plain, unadorned materials, combined with extremely logical floor plans and design. Even after Louis XVI was beheaded, his style of Neo-classicism