Casanova - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Casanova Reviews

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½ August 11, 2014
Beautiful to look at, boring to watch.
July 7, 2014
Cliched and anachronistic (naturally). The movie is not actively bad - in fact it is pleasant and passes the time, although Ledger makes an unconvincing Casanova - but the sumptuous production design cannot make up for a script made entirely of cliches.
½ July 7, 2014
It's a shame Ledger died so young. I'm sure he would've produce great movies as he got older.
May 20, 2014
it was a great movie, very funny but romantic and interesting at the same time.
½ April 29, 2014
Directed by Lasse Hallström, (What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), The Cider House Rules (1999), Chocolat (2000) and Salmon Fishing In The Yemen (2011)), this romantic comedy was based on the adventures and exploits of Giacomo Casanova (1725 - 1798), whose complicated and elaborate affairs earned him a legendary reputation as a serial womaniser. The film is patchy, but it has some funny moments. In 18th Century Venice, Giacomo Casanova (Heath Ledger) has been romancing a number of women across Venice, from aristocrats to nuns, and he's been arrested by Dalfonso (Ken Stott), but The Doge of Venice (Tim McInnerny) always manages to get him off the hook. But, Casanova finds himself falling in love with Francesca (Sienna Miller), who writes feminist books, but Francesca's mother Andrea Bruni (Lena Olin) wants her to marry the rich Paprizzio (Oliver Platt). Plus, Casanova's days womanising all over Rome are numbered when Pucci (Jeremy Irons) from the Venetian Inquisition, who wants to arrest Casanova for sexual debauchery. It's a very silly film, but it has a good who's who of actors in it, and Ledger gives a very game performance, and it shows he was a very gifted actor who died too young. Not all of it works, but it has some lovely visuals and it has the tone and structure of an old Ealing comedy too, although this has more sexual references and swearing.
April 18, 2014
And there is Heath Ledger :)
February 27, 2014
I've never known the real story of Casanova so I won't judge. This movie is a total fresh comedy! Love the set and the pictures, it's been awhile since the last time I watched British classic romance :)
½ February 16, 2014
Not the best adaptation of the story.
January 2, 2014
Saw this when it first came out. Still just as great as ever. Love the love story and the comedy.
December 6, 2013
It gets dragged down in some places, but it's still an amusing, lighthearted story that features entertaining performances.
December 2, 2013
This is a very interesting movie. Who knows if any of it is actually true, but it made for a great story.
November 5, 2013
Flixster/Rotten Tomatoes has the wrong movie listed here. Whoops
October 16, 2013
Surprisingly terrible, considering all the big names in it. Visually pretty, but lacking in interest and drive (in other words, slow and boring).
½ September 6, 2013
Loved the locations, at least.
September 4, 2013
An interesting film from Hallstrom that would be much better if it were void of its sticky sentiment and taken from a more Kubrickian view. It's also notable for a disgustingly ironic role by Miller which calls for her to profess ideals of lifelong love and abstinence, only further dampening the film's resonance.
½ August 20, 2013
I enjoyed this movie..
July 29, 2013
There were several moments funny enough to make me laugh out loud, but overall this Casanova was pretty vanilla. Just not a lot of flavor to it as it feels like the film is aiming for too much and achieving too little. Ledger plays his role well, but I didn't feel any chemistry between him and Sienna Miller. Her character is intense enough to make a man as prolific and hedonistic as Casanova to renounce his ways and settle down, but they didn't have much spark, and there was no lightning bolt moment for Casanova to realize this is a woman he can't live without and vice versa.
½ July 9, 2013
Beautiful production design, but not much else. It's a light comedic farce that's likeable enough, but so predictable and over-the-top.
June 16, 2013
great movie very comical
June 4, 2013
I'll give Casanova credit for at least doing something different with the tired period piece. I mean, it's not a good something, but at least it's a slight attempt at originality which, in a genre like this one, is always a pleasure. This is a bright, mostly cheery picture and it's not about upper-class socialites having one problem and one problem only in their lives. It's refreshing, and if it did things well, it would be the example to hold up and to strive for.

The main character is Giancomo Casanova (Heath Ledger), who was a real person. His life wasn't exactly like it's presented in the film, but then, whose is? He's shown here as the most carefree soul, addicted to having sex with as many woman as he can con into bed. Considering this is the 1700s, and many of his targets were church women, he's ordered to either marry really soon, or he will be kicked out of the city. The Church had previously shown leniency toward him, but circumstances dictate that this can no longer happen.

As a result, Casanova sets his sights onto a cross-dressing woman's rights activist named Francesca (Sienna Miller). That romance plays out for the rest of the film, all leading to a climax that's a bit too easy, but, then, maybe it really happened that way. I don't really care one way or another. It's a shame that the film is too boring to be worthwhile, as this basic idea is both funny and interesting enough to be worth pursuing. Actually, if the film was about Francesca and not Casanova, I think we might have had a better picture.

See, in those times, women weren't allowed many basic rights. Seeing one woman take a stand, dressing as a man and writing under a pen name -- that has the potential to be exciting. It would have been more of an inspirational story, too, and she's a character who is a lot easier to care about than Casanova. She's at least attempting something with her life. His is already a legend -- we see puppet shows performed about his "activities" -- and yet he does nothing that's particularly interesting or engaging.

The director is Lasse Hallström, better known for darker (and better) works like What's Eating Gilbert Grape. This film is much different in tone, and while that's not necessarily a bad thing on its own -- a director needs to stretch, after all, just like an actor -- this lighthearted approach did nothing but take away any danger that the characters have. You don't expect anyone to come out of this film with scars because of how joyous and happy everyone is. They can't be harmed because the film won't allow it.

This is despite an undeserved R rating from the MPAA, which makes you wonder if they saw the same film that was released. There is no violence, profanity or nudity in the film, and the only substance consumed is alcohol. Sure, Casanova's reputation is someone who sleeps around, but surely you can't be given that sort of rating based on a reputation, especially if the most you get to see is a 10-second clip that would be tolerable in a PG-13 action film.

It's almost a given that a costume drama makes you feel like you're back in time, likely in another part of the world. Our film this time around takes place in the mid 18th century, in Italy. The costumes are flashy, the sets are detailed, and it all looks very authentic. Should you expect otherwise? No. Fans of the genre will note that only notable (terrible) exceptions don't at least look good. That's one of the appeals. You want to see famous people talk oddly and dress old-fashioned. Whatever plot and purpose is almost secondary. I guess that's why I'm not a big fan of these types of films.

There's just no depth to this film, which is even more disappointing when you realize that Casanova was a real person and that there are texts filled with things that could have been incorporated into the film. Instead, we just get a boring story with surface-level characters and absolutely nothing beyond pretty visuals to hold our attention. Is that enough? For some, I suspect it might be. Spending two hours in 1750's Italy might just be compelling enough.

It also has good acting, although because the characters these actors are playing are so shallow, it's mostly just a waste of good talent. Heath Ledger gets very little to do in the lead role, while Sienna Miller has a more meaty role, but it ultimately doesn't matter because the film isn't about her. Jeremy Irons and Lena Olin also have significant roles, and both have the potential to steal scenes, if their past work is anything by which to judge them. They're also solid, but in more supporting roles, meaning they have even less importance and significance.

Casanova is a good looking, very happy movie about a man who can't keep it in his pants pursuing a woman who actually has ambitions in life. It should have been about her. Either way, neither of the two leads have any depth or reason to care about them, and because of the light tone, it's impossible to think any harm will befall them. It's well-acted and it looks very impressive, but it's all for naught because there isn't a story worth telling or a point worth raising contained in these frames.
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