1 December 2004 | marcin_kukuczka
It is worth struggling for Love! Touching story of misalliance!
If you expect this film to be similar to other sweet movies the only focus of which is love, you are wrong. Its content is quite varied. It is the story of the youngest daughter of prince Max of Bawaria and duchess Ludovika, Sophie (1847-1910), a sister of empress Elizabeth, called Sissi. In spite of some historical inaccuracies, this movie is pretty good.
The focus of the film is partly on misalliance. Sophie is engaged to the insane king Ludwig of Bawaria (1845-1886), the one that has already been a topic of Visconti's movie from the 1970s where Romy Schneider played Elizabeth for the second time in her life career. Although she did like him as a child, she does not want to marry him. Nevertheless, the rules of the aristocratic family do not allow for love... Sophie falls in love with a simple man, a photographer, Edgar (Steffen Groth), of course unaccepted by her family, especially by her mother Ludovika (Daniela Ziegler) who cares for her daughter's happiness. Finally, Sophie does not marry Ludwig but prince Ferdinand de Allencons (Fritz Karl) and moves to France where her life is full of tears. But she never stops praying to meet Edgar one more time...
The story of the film may seem not to be very clever. However, the way Mr Tiefenbacher shows this is not that boring. There are kitschy scenes, of course (e.g. Sophie's wedding with Ferdinand), but there are some moments this film is worth watching for.
I especially liked the moment when Pater Pierre (Urbano Barberini) tells Sophie to read an extract from the Bible. It occurs that these are the beautiful words about Love, the words that I entailed at the end of my review. Also, the moment worth considering is the love scene between Sophie and Edgar. While there is an engagement party, Edgar comes to Sophie and they make love - she wants him to be the first one to see her dressed for a wedding even if the world does not allow them to be together...
The cast are also good. These are not very famous stars, but they do a good job. Young and beautiful Valerie Koch (Sophie) reminds me a bit of young Romy Schneider in Sissi trilogy (1950s). Steffen Groth is also not bad as Edgar. Miguel Herz-Kestranek's portrayal of Max is different than Gustav Knuth's in Sissi, but far more accurate historically. Daniela Ziegler also does a wonderful job portraying Ludovika as a calm duchess heading for the aristocratic life of her daughter.
If these arguments have not encouraged you to see the film, maybe the last aspect of it should make it more attractive. The film shows how photography and the first movies developed. It takes place in late 1800s and that is the time when these inventions began to be broadly used in aristocratic families. The director made a wonderful use of it, especially in the final scene.
After the sad, final scene, I understood these words more clearly:
"It is worth struggling for Love
Our days are like grass
We bloom like flowers on a meadow
But soon the wind blows and we are gone
And there is no longer any trace of us in the places we knew
Only WHEN WE LOVE... WE ARE ETERNAL!"