How strongly does your interest lean towards period pieces?
For me, they can sometimes come across as a bit dull, yet occasionally, I find myself captivated by their slow-burning allure.
Now, there’s a new entrant in the realm of period cinema on Netflix: Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction.
This Danish film is a screen adaptation of Karen Blixen’s novel, Ehrengard. By its very essence, it’s a romantic comedy-drama, so my expectations were slightly higher than usual.
Does Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction impress or falter? Here is my review.
Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction Synopsis
A painter, with a strong sense of wordplay, is asked by the Grand Duchess to find a bride for her son. In exchange, the painter puts up the demand of drawing a portrait of Ehrengard, an enigmatic and hard-to-win woman.
Directed by Bille August, Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction stars Mikkel Boe Folsgaard (Cazotte), Sidse Babett Krudsen (Grand Duchess), and Alice Bier Zanden (Ehrengard), in lead roles.
What Works for Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction?
This film is anything but predictable if you’re encountering it for the first time. Its concept is delightfully quirky and interesting.
The portrayal of the relationship between a Duchess and a painter is refreshingly nasty, devoid of any ill-intended intimate undertones.
Their connection radiates with vibrancy and genuine joy.
Furthermore, the notion of seduction being treated as an art form is an unequivocal triumph.
Credit for the exceptional concept and storyline must be given to the author of Ehrengard, the novel upon which this Danish film is based.
It is from this source that the movie weaves a tale of concealed desire and allure.
The nuanced camaraderie among the characters could not have flourished without strong writing.
The dialogue is a delectable treat. It’s adorned with an enchanting blend of eloquent lines and intricate descriptions, a rarity in modern cinema—a delightful surprise, to say the least.
Moreover, while Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction isn’t a suspense thriller, it keeps you engrossed.
What lies ahead? How will the love story conclude? Will the seduction plan bear fruit? These questions linger in your mind, keeping you invested.
Crucially, the film never lags in pace; it remains brisk and fluid throughout.
This sets it apart from other period dramas, where a leisurely tempo often dominates.
Additionally, the screenplay exudes enchantment. There’s a charming humor interwoven throughout the film that draws you in.
How are the Performances?
Mikkel Boe Folsgaard is mesmerizing as Cazotte. His screen presence is mighty captivating. The actor brings along a joyous persona that assures you of a satisfying experience.
His mix of held-back expressions with a perfect demeanor for someone pulling a seductive gaze is brilliant.
Sidse Babett Krudsen presents a beautiful outing. Her affable nature on the screen lifts your spirits high.
Alice Bier Zanden plays Ehrengard. Surprisingly, her screen time is less. Still, she impresses with a sharp countenance and restrained depiction.
What Doesn’t Work for Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction?
Well, as I just mentioned, the primary character is kept under wraps for the major part of the film.
Ehrengard’s role doesn’t match that of the titular character, at least in length.
You might go in expecting her to be at the forefront of things. However, it is the other way around.
It feels like a missed opportunity, and a clearer focus on her character could have showcased her individual strength more prominently.
Furthermore, I felt the ending could have been better handled in Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction. It is not wholesome.
Stream or Skip?
Go for it.