I love history and I love cinema – there is no secret there, in fact most people who really know me will tell you that they are two my biggest passions in life. So, when I saw the trailer for Corsage I was genuinely excited to be heading along to check it out, after all Empress Elisabeth of Austria was not someone that I knew much about. But then I started to do a little research on the film and I soon found that as it turns out no-one really knows a lot about her and that is why Corsage is actually a fictional tale of what a year in the life of the Empress may have looked like.

That suddenly changed things for me – my mindset suddenly went to the fact that I was know going to be looking at this as a work of art and actually not learning anything about actual history – and I started to wonder how many poor students out there will one day use something from this film in an assignment not realising that the events here are as realistic as anything they will ever see in a Marvel film.

So this fictional tale sees Empress Elisabeth (Vicky Krieps – Old) in quite a state. To be honest her state of depression is beginning to affect her general everyday life. She and her husband, Emperor Franz Joseph (Florian Teichtmeister – Polly Adler), no longer have any sexual attraction between them and as she nears her 40th birthday she has become obsessed with her weight and often refuses to eat. In a strange twist her sexual desire is now aimed towards her obviously gay cousin.

She is also devastated at the news that her role is now pretty much just ceremonial and she finds herself not trusted by her own son while her husband blames her for much of the trouble that their Kingdom is experiencing. There is little wonder why Elisabeth wants to spend as much time away from the Palace as possible but that in turn just seems to lead to more scandal and innuendo.

Watching Corsage becomes an interesting event. On the one hand the performance of Vicky Krieps and the work of director Marie Kreutzer (The Ground Beneath My Feet) keeps you firmly interested in the film itself but I found my mind constantly wandering to the fact that there is a strong chance that nothing that I was watching on the screen most likely happened – and with that in mind I kept coming to the conclusion that this is pretty much a character assassination of the highest order – I mean imagine if you wrote about a modern day figure and alluded that they were in love with their cousin and was depressed to the point of thinking about suicide… the lawyer’s letters would be arriving on your doorstep within hours of your writing being released.

That aside though there is still a dark, Gothic beauty to this film that can be enjoyed on an artistic level. Cinematographer Judith Kaufmann (Two Lives) drapes the film in a grey tone that just seeps sadness into every frame – while the music which was put together by the brilliant Camille further enhances the melancholic feel of the film that total draws the audience in.

Corsage is an interesting film to watch. I found myself drawn into the beauty of the film itself and completely impressed by the under-praised performance of Vicky Krieps but on the other hand the analytical side of my brain was sending me warnings throughout my viewing reminding me that nothing I was watching was real.

3/5 Stars