2006-07-12 09:15


Casanova (Heath Ledger), a famous lover that women can't resist, is wanted by the Roman Catholic Church because he's a threat to morality in Venice. But he has powerful friends and always eludes them. It's not the church that finally captures him, but a feminist writer who hooks him by the heart. Unfortunately, she must marry a fat, stupid, ugly lard baron in order to save her family's fortunes. And Casanova is engaged to her brother's sweetheart. So it's complicated.


There's nothing nicer than a good period movie. Somehow, the different costumes and older culture make for a wonderful stylisation of universal emotions. It's like a dress up party and an artwork all at once. Yes, there's something inherently romantic about the way characters strive against the social times to marry for true love, help people who have less than they do and generally become more like modern people.

This is not one of those wonderful indulgences.

The story of Casanova, and the woman who made him into a real man with real feelings, is the basis of this clumsy film version of the famous myth. It stars Heath Ledger, who has precious few convincing moments as the sexiest man in Vienna. Even the usually irresistible Sienna Miller seems lifeless in the hands of director Lasse Hallstrom - how did he manage it?

To make things worse, what might have been a light bit of fluff tries to tackle issues like feminism through Sienna Miller's character, Francesca. It implies that Casanova was really seeking his long lost mother in all the women he made love to, not just a good time. It even attempts to discuss the church-state relation of the times, while still churning out stupid jokes about Francesca's lard baron (geddit?) played by Oliver Platt (he's fat! Ha!) and her slut mother (she digs fat guys, so guess what happens). By attempting to be zany, Casanova ends up being merely very irritating. Kind of like an inexperienced young stand up comedian stealing Eddie Izzard lines.

There's nothing more disappointing than a bad period movie. All that money spent on costumes. All that time spent researching the setting. Those two and a half hours spent freezing in the (very modern) aircon of the cinema. And all we get in the end is a nasty American comedy crossed with a D-grade drama, performed in uncomfortable clothes.

At least a real life Casanova would only disappoint you with some form of shortness. With this Casanova, you'll just be glad when it's over.

- Jean Barker

Like a bad copy of a Shakespeare packed with pompous pseudo-antiquity types. It's likely to make even the biggest period movie fan scream... with boredom.

j9 2006/03/04 5:39 AM
Bad reviews Okay, so I'm the type of person who enjoys reading movie reviews, even when I don't listen to them. And lately I am thankful. To be honest I have not had as much fun watching a movie in a long time as I did with this one. I know it didn't get steller international reviews either, but decided to go againts the norm and give it a try. And what do you know I found it to be exactly what it is meant to be, a light hearted story about a legendary figure. Of course it's not going to be factual, of course it's not going to be serious, if so the real Casinova would have had a heck of a lot more children and quiet a few STDs. To me this movie is what it sets out to be: funny, sentimental and entertaining. So if you want the real deal on womenizing wait for Libertine, though you'll probably find something wrong with that too. I also trusted another of these reviews and went to see Zathura, which to be honest I almost walked out of. Yes it's a kiddies movie, but I was lead to believe it Ultraviolet, V for Vendetta, Libertine
j9 2006/03/04 11:55 AM
Bad reviews con. was a decent film for adults alike, I was sorely disappointed. Not everything we watch at the movies has to have deep moral or social comment to it, sometimes it's nice to use the cenima for what it was first invented: escapism.
Keltria Orton 2006/03/04 12:00 PM
I agree with J9 I went to watch Casanova and to tell you the truth, it was a non-stop laugh. I really enjoyed it and so did a lot of the people in the theatre. Non got up and walked out, and if I am to trust the amount of laughter that I heard, then a good time was had by most. I would happily re-watch that movie anytime. Libertine
Andre Jardim 2006/05/09 2:38 PM
Definitely worth watching I am beginning to wonder if Jean Barker has taken the words "movie critic" literally. Her reviews are dreadfully cynical and she dissects her movies with the skill of a cold-hearted surgeon - brilliantly, but without any compassion, empathy or emotion (see her review of "The Producers"). It's as if she believes every movie needs to be a blockbuster Oscar-winner. Casanova is certainly not that, but it is an amusing romantic comedy, with good acting, Jeremy Irons is brilliant as the hypocritical cowardly Inquisitor. Rent the DVD and watch it - it't good fun. And BAH-HUMBUG to Jean Barker!
*** 2006/12/14 10:43 AM
Casanova I was rather disappointed with this film and agree it could have been done a lot better. This is a story about an unforgettable legend but neither Heath nor Sienna fulfill these roles satisfactorily. I would not give it such a low rating but agree that both story line and character roles could seriously have been better selected. I definitely cannot see why Heath was selected in this role - it does not suit him.
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