With a fine cast and magnificent settings it certainly gives us a feel for the political climate and the situation of the poor people of Paris. And there is extensive coverage of the debates in the the National Assembly as the people seek to codify their newly won rights, and later as the plight of the king is decided.
Life was certainly tough and when arms were taken up many died. This of course only heightened the feelings against the king and despite many deputies voting against the death penalty his fate was eventually sealed.
The human stories are captivating but after a while the ongoing scenes within the Assembly become a bit boring. I could catch quite a bit of the French and I feel that the English subtitles don't really convey the passion of the speeches being made. And I believe that a French audience would find the procedures far more stimulating than an English-speaking one.
Often with historical dramas it's worth reading a bit beforehand unless you are familiar with the subject. I think this film is a clear candidate for doing this.
The guillotine sequence, which effectively marks the end of the film, is uncomfortably realistic and quite gruesome. But, of course, much worse was to follow!
The review in the UK Guardian newspaper described the film as a "bum-numbing history lesson for Marie Antoinette haters", alluding to the prominence given to le peuple with precious little sympathy for the king and queen. Such sentiments are of course more in line with the feelings of many French people.