Likable, Though Not Loveable, Casanova

by Alan Rapp on February 8, 2011

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Casanova
  • IMDB: link

casanova-posterThe story of Casanova is told through a revolving humorous farce and a typical Hollywood love story.  The farce works much better than than the love story and carries the film through most of its rough patches.  A likeable little film just in time for the holidays.

Lord Jacomo Casanova (Heath Ledger) is a renowned lover who finds love in a different woman’s bed each night.  As his fornications have come to the attention of Rome he is ordered to either marry or leave Venice.  A marriage with the town’s pre-eminent beautiful virgin (Natalie Dormer) is arranged, but Casanova also finds himself enthralled with the outspoken Francesca Bruni (Sienna Miller) who is also hiding a heretical secret of writing philosophy under the name Bernardo Grudi and is engaged to the rotund lord of lard Papprizzio (Oliver Platt).  Instigator Pucci (Jeremy Irons) arrives to find both find the heretic Bruni and punish the philanderer Casanova.  Here begins the tale of tiny lies and small deceits, mistaken identities, and sticky situations (hey I had to throw one pun in!).

The love story is rather bland and a retread of many Hollywood romantic comedies.  The true enjoyment comes from the comedic scenes especially those involving Platt.  Along with Platt there are strong comedic performances from Lina Olin and Charlie Cox as Francessca’s mother and brother, Omid Djalili as Casanova’s assistant, and a countless assortment of Venetian beauties.

The director has a good eye as much of the film was shot on location in Venice and he knows how to use the city as a character to help tell the story.  Aside from a balloon ride the scenes filmed in studio match those from the city fairly well.

We don’t get much farce these days and this is a pretty good one.  Though the love story is rather ho-hum the humor and charm of the story help to make the film better than it deserves to be.  Not a must see by any means but a fun little movie for the holiday season that many should enjoy.

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