What does it mean for a person to be truly free? Corsage (not the flower arrangement but the German word for “corset”) explores the idea by telling a story of a historic figure, Empress Elisabeth of Austria. While watching the movie, I realized that it didn’t matter whether the movie was faithful to historical facts or not. The perspective was clear and I was already on board with where it led. In fact, the narrative departure from the history mirrored Elisabeth’s desire to escape from the suffocating and oppressive life under monarchy.
This kind of story was told before many times and yet it was still vibrant and interesting. This is because the movie focused on interpersonal relationship between the characters and Vicky Krieps did a lot of heavy-lifting with her poetic performance. About the ending, one can take it as literal as possible (even though it’s fictional), and may say it is highly controversial. My take is that it symbolizes the contrast between what she had to endure and her extremely strong desire to escape, which she eventually failed and felt more cornered increasingly.