USA Today - 12/23/2005
"Ledger swaggers, seduces and smoothly bandies witticisms with as much confidence and verve as the veteran actors --Jeremy Irons, Lena Olin, Oliver Platt -- who make up the rest of the talented cast."
Los Angeles Times - 12/23/2005
"In the exhilarating CASANOVA, giddy shenanigans effectively set off the dangerous, darker impulses of human nature."
New York Times - 01/06/2006
"[A] high-spirited farce...Silly, sly and delightful."
Entertainment Weekly - 01/13/2006
"Ms. Miller has a modern, smart-girl look about her..." -- Grade: B
Widescreen Review - 05/01/2006
"[The] picture exhibits a nice color palette that complements the mid-1700s setting of the story."
Total Film - 07/01/2006 3 stars out of 5 -- "[A] quite enjoyable blend of Benny Hill-esque farce and period drama, full to the brim with sexual innuendo, lavish sets and good, honest bodice-ripping."
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, lighthearted 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. Directed with visual flair and wit by Lasse Hallström--a master of classy period pieces like CHOCOLAT and CIDER HOUSE RULES--the movie was filmed on location in Venice, and the stunningly gorgeous scenery is almost a character in its own right. Heath Ledger, believable and engaging here in a role that couldn't be more different from his powerhouse performance in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, turns on all of his considerable charms here. 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), a beauty who publishes clever pamphlets on women's rights under a pen name. In the time-honored tradition, Casanova is instantly smitten with the one woman in Venice who doesn't want anything to do with him.
The plot provides few surprises, but that is beside the point; the pleasures of CASANOVA are in its warm freewheeling tone, its sumptuous visuals, and the cheerful exuberance of its actors. In addition to Ledger's winning star turn, Lena Olin is her usual mesmerizing self as Francesca's scheming mother, and the reliably excellent Oliver Platt (as Francesca's overmatched fiancé) and Jeremy Irons (as the frustrated head Inquisitor) both deliver deft comic performances.
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