Review Sisi & Ich – Review on FilmTotaal

Director: Frauke Finsterwalder | Script: Frauke Finsterwalder and Christian Kracht | Cast: Sandra Hüller (Irma Sztáray), Susanne Wolff (Keizerin Elisabeth), Tom Rhys Harries (Smythe), Sophie Hutter (Fritzi), Sibylle Canonica (Maria Sztáray), ea | Time to play: 132 minutes | Year: 2023

One hundred and twenty-five years after an anarchist took her own life, Elisabeth Amalie Eugenie in Bavaria, better known as Empress Sisi of the combined empire of Austria-Hungary, still captures the imagination. It was actress Romy Schneider who propelled Sisi to stardom in Ernst Marischka’s catchy and seriously romantic trilogy in the 1950s.

Sisi became an icon, about which many false stories emerged. In reality, she was a complex woman with a high degree of intelligence, bad teeth, and who suffered from an eating disorder and depression. In recent years, biopics about the Empress have appeared regularly, such as a miniseries and the one published last year. Corsetwhich took a fictional turn at the end of Elisabeth’s life in particular.

We find an attempt to deal with it more truthfully in the German sisi & ich, where the narrative perspective falls entirely on her maid of honor Irma Sztáray. In its opening we see the courtesan-to-be enter the imperial palace with her mother, where the current lady-in-waiting examines her as if she were cattle. Once approved, her Irma travels to the Greek island of Corfu, where she is also expected to demonstrate some running and hurdling in the sun.

It’s a crazy start to the Frauke Finsterwalder biopic. For a moment the question arises as to whether we are not dealing with a parody. Irma’s first meeting with the Empress is also a notable scene. Sisi is a difficult figure that Irma can barely grasp. However, a close bond develops between the two, perhaps precisely because Irma does not run away screaming her head off but instead persists in adoring her.

Finsterwalder visibly struggles to control the complex character of Sisi, functionally a supporting character. She is such a capricious woman that she places serious restrictions on the director. Her relationship with her new bridesmaid is almost amorous and it’s a nice side effect that you can’t quite put your finger on. However, the Empress’ quirk also makes the character somewhat implausible.

Elisabeth’s eating problems pass as a footnote, this being precisely an interesting aspect of her personality. The empress was obsessed with her figure and fought against aging. As the Finsterwalder biopic progresses, the bond with reality is loosening as well. If Corfu is traded for Britain, this seems to be primarily intended to further sell the Empress’s eccentricity. Here, Finsterwalder also plays a role with the story. So here again we see a dubious reading of the end of it.

Finsterwalder is also desperately trying to repeat the trick Sofia Coppola used on her. Marie Antoinette lashed out. The anachronistic soundtrack crosses the line and is more of a forced gimmick than what brings his film to life. The star of the show, however, is Sandra Hüller, who, as bridesmaid Irma, displays a range of emotions within the constraints of her assignment. completely satisfactory sisi & ich not off. For that it lacks nuance and interpretation, but the time and effort aren’t entirely wasted.

Varsha Rai

Hi, Varsha here. I am a very passionate writer with a knack for the art of words and I hope to share my stories and information in a way that is meaningful and inspiring. At, I write mostly on latest and upcoming movies, movie reviews and everything related to movies. Catch up with me on - [email protected]
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