Casanova Movie Review

Casanova Movie Review
Cast: Heath Ledger, Sienna Miller, Oliver Platt, Omid Djalili, Lena Olin, Charlie Cox, Natalie Dormer, Stephen Greif, Jeremy Irons
Director: Lasse Hallstrom
Screenplay: Jeffrey Hatcher and Kimberly Simi
Genre: Adventure/Comedy
Rated: M moderate sexual references
Running Time: 111 Minutes

There's No Greater Adventure Than True Love

'Casonova' is loosely based on the memoirs of the writer, adventurer, and infamous lover Giacomo Casanova--themselves notably unreliable--and fortunately has no pretensions to historical realism. Instead, it's a witty, light-hearted romantic comedy, which uses its 18th century setting and renowned hero as a jumping-off point for sexy banter and ruminations on love, lust, and freedom.

Abandoned by his mother as a child, Casanova has grown into a lascivious yet oddly innocent young man, who pursues pleasure wholeheartedly and mistakes lust for love. His biggest concern is eluding Italy's puritanical Inquisitors, until he meets Francesca Bruni (Sienna Miller). In the time-honoured tradition, Casanova is instantly smitten with the one woman in Venice who doesn't want anything to do with him.

My Verdict:
It is Venice, Italy in the 17oo's and Giacomo Casanova (Heath Ledger) is a wickedly infamous man who continuously abandons all notions of personal commitment for lust and seduction. In a series of mistaken and assumed identities he frolics around Venice, leaving a trail of broken hearts and females lusting after him but he comes unstuck when he falls for the one woman he shouldn't, Francesca Bruni (Sienna Miller), who is the author of women's rights pamphlets writing under the guise of a male non-de-plume, Guardi.

Meanwhile, Casanova is also being pursued by the hapless Bishop Pucci (Jeremy Irons) of the Inquisition who declares Casanova to be a fornicator, whilst also seeking Guardi who is deemed to be a heretic. Intertwined is the involvement of Francesca's corpulent fiancé, the lard-king Papprizzio (Oliver Platt) who unwittingly becomes mixed up in a tangled web of deceit and a race against time.

As the nefarious Casanova, Heath Ledger shows yet another side to his range, adopting a hard to resist charm and a comedic spirit that sits well balanced with his off-sider Lupo, played with a mischievous appeal by Omid Djalili. These two often have quick banter, which gives the whole event a whimsical touch as they flit around Venice in the pursuit of women.

Oliver Platt just about steals all his scenes as the almost naïve Papprizzio, especially when he agrees to a total makeover courtesy of Casanova. Platt is utterly enjoyable and very amusing along with Jeremy Irons as the frustrated Pucci who is hot on the trail of the elusive Casanova. Irons manages to give his role a devilish appeal and almost tumbles into creating a farcical character but instead hangs perfectly on the borderline. Sienna Miller is just passable as Francesca and Lena Olin shows that experience is a virtue as Francesca's mother, Andrea.

'Casanova' was shot on location in Venice and it is hard to ignore its beauty, the canals, the buildings and the interiors all adding to the romanticism along with the showy costumes. Never meant to be a true account of the notorious man, 'Casanova' is certainly frivolous and frothy but definitely lots of fun.

Rating : ***

Christina Bruce

Heath Ledger dies at age 28 in a New York City apartment.


Copyright © 2001 -, a Company - All rights reserved.