In Corsage, Empress Elizabeth of Austria is idolized for her beauty and known for setting fashion trends. But, in 1877, the Empress turns 40 and is officially considered old. She then starts a crusade to try to maintain her public image, in a battle against time, in the name of her vanity.
A bodice or corset, the “corsage” of the title, is the object that, in addition to physically marking the body of Empress Elizabeth of Austria, represents the prison in which she starts to live when she reaches old age, at forty. The discomfort of being forced to participate in a society she no longer has an interest in and, ironically, whom she obsessively seeks to satisfy by showing a physical profile that she no longer has permeates the entire film. Thus, pulling the corset cord, an act repeated with a certain exaggeration, becomes a metaphor for repressed desires for the imposed adaptation to society. The final scene, although tragic, is of a unique visual beauty.