Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction Parent Guide
It's hard to laugh at a plotline that preys on the vulnerability of women.
Parent Movie Review
The Grand Duchess of Babenhausen (Sidse Babett Knudsen) faces a critical problem: her husband is terminally ill, and royal succession is in question. The Grand Duke secured his crown after conflict with his cousins, and unless Prince Lothar (Emil Aron Dorph) marries quickly and establishes himself as a credible future ruler, he will be unable to hold the throne against his father’s grasping relatives. The prince is amiable but uninterested in the ladies of the court and the Grand Duchess has no idea how to motivate him into matrimony.
Having had her portrait painted by Cazotte (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard), the Grand Duchess decides that she can put the flirtatious artist’s talents to use. She engages him to introduce her son to the delights of love and hopefully spur him on to marriage. As events unfold, Cazotte’s services become invaluable and soon the Grand Duchess requires his help in preventing a scandal – and urges him to name his price. Cazotte requests access to Ehrengard Schreckenstein (Alice Bier Zanden), the beautiful daughter of a strict military leader. Wryly amused by Cazotte’s choice, the Grand Duchess offers a wager: if Cazotte is able to seduce Ehrengard, she will give him a place in court and financial security; if he fails, he will have an affair with the Grand Duchess.
Cazotte might be a clever man, but he has made one fatal error – he hasn’t considered the intelligence of the woman he’s pursuing. Ehrengard is an astute, dignified, strong-minded woman, who quickly takes Cazotte’s measure. As the plots multiply, the battle of wits intensifies and it’s increasingly difficult to tell who’s going to win.
Set in a vaguely 18th century imaginary European kingdom, this Danish-made film tries to be a sexy comedy of manners and is sometimes funny; more often cringeworthy. Surprisingly, given the plot, there isn’t any graphic sex, although there is a scene of vigorous activity under the sheets and sex is frequently discussed in non-explicit conversations. Female nudity, mostly in an artistic context, is not infrequent and there is a scene where a man spies on a woman as she bathes: she is seen naked from behind. Even more disturbingly, Cazotte paints a woman in the nude without her knowledge or consent. Violence, profanity, and substance use are surprisingly scant, so sex is the only big issue here.
From my perspective, the callous wagering on Ehrengard’s sexual vulnerability is far more disturbing than the on-screen desire, scheming, and innuendo. The movie can set itself up as a romantic farce but I find it hard to laugh when the objectification of a woman is supposed to be funny.Directed by Bille August. Starring Sidse Babett Knudsen, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, Jacob Lohmann. Running time: 94 minutes. Theatrical release September 14, 2023. Updated September 14, 2023
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Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction
Rating & Content Info
Why is Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction rated TV-MA? Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction is rated TV-MA by the MPAA for nudity
Violence: People are fencing in sport. A child is abducted. A woman pushes a man into a wall. A man faints. A man slaps another and challenges him to a duel. A duel takes place and a man is shot without serious consequences.
Sexual Content: A woman grabs a man and kisses him. There are several scenes of men and women kissing. A man shares nude drawings of women, with breast and genital detail. There is coded conversation about sex. There are conversations with sexual innuendo. Two people make a wager about whether or not the man can have sex with another woman. A naked woman is seen from behind. A woman is painted in the nude without her knowledge or consent. There’s reference to a pregnancy that occurs before marriage. A child is seen nursing at a woman’s breast. A clothed man and woman are seen having vigorous sex under the covers: there is moaning, writhing and loud vocalizations.
Profanity: There is a single minor profanity in the script.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults drink alcohol with meals.
Page last updated September 14, 2023
Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction Parents' Guide
What do you think motivates the Grand Duchess in engaging Cazotte’s services? Why does she go along with his self-serving plan? Why is she willing to help Cazotte in his pursuit of Ehrengard? Do you think any of the characters are happy as the result of their choices? Do you think Cazotte appears happy at the end of the film?
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