Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction (2023)

Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction (2023)

A playful comedy of errors set within the royal halls of a fairy tale kingdom



Denmark, Sweden
Comedy, Drama, Romance
Alice E. Bier Zandén, Jacob Ulrik Lohmann, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard
95 min


This should sate the appetite of those waiting for the next Bridgerton spin-off.

What it's about

Based on the novel by Karen Blixen (the author behind award-winning adaptations like Out of Africa and Babette's Feast), Ehrengard follows Cazotte (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard), a court painter who finds himself romantically troubled after helping the royal prince with his own love woes.

The take

It’s slower and talkier than you’d expect from a semi-erotic film, but Ehnegard lives up to its title well enough to satisfy. It’s titillating, but in a cheeky rather than provocative way. The dialogues are lengthy, but they’re alternately witty and poetic, so despite the pace they never actually bore. Ehnegard’s real delight, however, is its beauty. Set in the old kingdom of Babenhausen, Ehnegard looks like a fairy tale come to life. The towering castles, the sprawling meadows, the twinkling forest lakes, and of course, the smartly costumed people who populate the scenery—all these and more ensure that each frame has a picturesque glow to it. And with Sidse Babett Knudsen (Borgen, Westworld) taking charge of an appealing cast, Ehnegard proves to be a charming watch. 

What stands out

I would be remiss not to mention a particular plotline where Cazotte observes Ehnegard during her daily dips in the lake and paints her nude body without her consent. “I beg your Grace not to see this as explicit or think of me as a voyeur,” he tells the Duchess in a letter. “There was something picturesque about it.” This perverse behavior from the film’s hero might understandably make viewers feel uncomfortable, and I can already tell that this scene will be taken out of context and ripped to shreds on social media, but considering this was written in the 20th century (and set even centuries before that), I appreciate how it stays true to the era. It treads a fine line between problematic and authentic, but that should be expected from a period piece that is unapologetically about sex. 


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