Relatively light-hearted for a film that is essentially about depression
Slow and subtle storytelling might not be for everyone
Subject matter of suicide could’ve been handled better
We’re in 1877 Vienna, an era where mental health was not given 2 shits about, even when it comes to a mighty imperial empress from Europe.
Corsage is a historical drama about Empress Elizabeth’s quest for liberation from her depressing, ornamental life in the Habsburg monarchy.
From start to finish, the film depicts the declining state of her mental health, a character journey impeccably helmed by Luxembourgish-German actress Vicky Krieps.
Whether sorrowful, chaotic or jovial, Krieps performs every idiosyncratic expression as Empress Elizabeth with elegance and mastery. Her acting prowess, and the character’s rebellious yet wacky nature, allow the makers to easily make playful digs at the anachronism of the monarchy — the biggest factor that makes our period protagonist more relatable to the modern audience in my opinion.
But with Corsage’s intentional, tortoise-like pacing, you might wish you were watching an Indian movie, just so you’ll get an intermission at midpoint. Where Corsage scores in astute performance and direction, it wanes in entertainment value. So if like me, your regular content consumption includes people swinging LED swords and magic wands, this film is not your cup of butterbeer — which come to think of it, is completely fine.
Corsage is an art film that gives you a taste of the suffocating life of royal women. Instead of using clever narrative tricks to advance the story, it employs a more contemplative and sombre approach, with the strict intention of encapsulating the rigidity and isolation of royal life. So it’s understandable that fun factor doesn’t have a seat in its palace.
However, what’s not completely fine is the film’s treatment of suicide as a subject matter, and the lack of a trigger warning around it, which is concerning.
If you revel in slice-of-life movies where storytelling is in the nuances, Corsage is your optimal alternative to the dramatic and punchy Creed III in cinemas currently.