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Mad Love (2002)


Average Rating: 5.3/10
Reviews Counted: 49
Fresh: 23
Rotten: 26

Critics Consensus: An overwrought bodice-ripper, Mad Love is more silly than dramatic.

Average Rating: 5.4/10
Reviews Counted: 17
Fresh: 7
Rotten: 10

Critics Consensus: An overwrought bodice-ripper, Mad Love is more silly than dramatic.


Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 1,480



Movie Info

This lavish historical drama was inspired by the true story of Juana the Mad, who became Queen of Spain before her willfulness and jealousy robbed her of her power. During the late 15th century, Juana (Pilar Lopez de Ayala) was born to the Spanish royal family, and as a teenager her mother, Queen Isabella (Susy Sanchez), arranged for her to marry Archduke Philip (Daniele Liotti) of Brussels. The marriage is a matter of politics more than anything else, and Juana is upset that she must leave … More

R (for sexuality/nudity)
Drama , Romance , Art House & International
Directed By:
Written By:
Vicente Aranda
In Theaters:
Jan 21, 2003
Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Mad Love

All Critics (53) | Top Critics (19) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (26) | DVD (5)

A sumptuously-appointed account of the life of the 16th-century Spanish royal Joan of Castile.

Full Review… | January 10, 2003
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Nothing more or less than an outright bodice-ripper -- it should have ditched the artsy pretensions and revelled in the entertaining shallows.

Full Review… | January 10, 2003
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

There's a little violence and lots of sex in a bid to hold our attention, but it grows monotonous after a while, as do Joan and Philip's repetitive arguments, schemes and treachery.

Full Review… | October 3, 2002
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

Forget the Psychology 101 study of romantic obsession and just watch the procession of costumes in castles and this won't seem like such a bore.

October 3, 2002
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

It's López de Ayala's show, and she's relentless in her energy and passion.

Full Review… | September 27, 2002
Miami Herald
Top Critic

A bodice-ripper for intellectuals.

Full Review… | September 20, 2002
Washington Post
Top Critic

dwells on questions of Joan's madness to the point of exhaustion

Full Review… | February 22, 2010
Old School Reviews

A chick flick of the first order, disguised by just enough historical detail to elevate the proceedings somewhat.

January 10, 2003
Jam! Movies

Aranda's screenplay and direction are rather shallow, so that this bodice-ripper feels more like a Lifetime made-for-cable movie than an epic, tragic romance.

Full Review… | January 3, 2003
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Accuracy and realism are terrific, but if your film becomes boring, and your dialogue isn't smart, then you need to use more poetic license.

Full Review… | December 19, 2002

Lush and beautifully photographed (somebody suggested the stills might make a nice coffee table book), but ultimately you'll leave the theater wondering why these people mattered.

Full Review… | October 24, 2002
San Diego Metropolitan

So vivid a portrait of a woman consumed by lust and love and crushed by betrayal that it conjures up the intoxicating fumes and emotional ghosts of a freshly painted Rembrandt.

Full Review… | October 24, 2002
Sacramento News & Review

Less a study in madness or love than a study in schoolgirl obsession.

October 17, 2002
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

There's no point of view, no contemporary interpretation of Joan's prefeminist plight, so we're left thinking the only reason to make the movie is because present standards allow for plenty of nudity.

Full Review… | October 11, 2002
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Who needs love like this?

Full Review… | October 8, 2002
Pasadena Weekly

The modern-day royals have nothing on these guys when it comes to scandals. It's only in fairy tales that princesses that are married for political reason live happily ever after.

Full Review… | October 4, 2002

Interesting both as a historical study and as a tragic love story.

Full Review… | September 27, 2002
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

It's not too fast and not too slow. It's not too racy and it's not too offensive. It's not too much of anything.

Full Review… | September 17, 2002
Combustible Celluloid

It's like an old Warner Bros. costumer jived with sex -- this could be the movie Errol Flynn always wanted to make, though Bette Davis, cast as Joan, would have killed him.

Full Review… | September 13, 2002
San Diego Union-Tribune

Audience Reviews for Mad Love

It's from spain, so of course it has lots of tits. Can't remember much else.

Tsubaki Sanjuro

Super Reviewer


Though not much interested in the Spanish history, I really loved the amazing sets and the very beautiful actress who portrayed the allegedly crazy queen. The way her obsession with her not so trustworthy husband drives her to the point of madness is really captured well.

Sajin P A

Super Reviewer


I enjoyed it, as much as you can enjoy a really depressing movie. This is the second Spanish movie that i've watched that's dealt with men abusing their power. They said that Joan was mad but she wasn't mad in the sense of craziness, she was furious. Her husband was cheating on her with multiple other women...of course she's going to be pissed off and act eractic. People knew that the Archduke was unfaithful but they chose to ignore it. The men who knew fell into two camps, either they were helping to cover it up or they were too afraid to act against him. And the women who knew couldnt do a damn thing about it, because well, they were women. I mean I'm sure that it's true to the time period but it really pisses me off. But it was really well done.

Megan S

Super Reviewer

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