Directed by: Lasse Hallstrom
Written by:Jeffrey Hatcher, Kimberly Simi
Starring: Heath Ledger, Sienna Miller, Jeremy Irons, Oliver Platt, Lena Olin, Ken Stott
Released: February 14, 2006
Grade: B+

Word has spread and all in Venice know of Casanova (Ledger).  Few know him by face but all know him by reputation.  He is the ultimate lover, a man who knows how to satisfy every woman’s deepest desires.  His greatest asset is his long… list of conquests.  With that much experience, it’s no wonder that men want to be him and women want to be with him.

Unfortunately for Casanova, his activities have raised eyebrows within the Catholic Church.  His disregard for the sanctity of love and marriage has forced them to take action.  Bishop Pucci (Irons) has been sent from Rome to find the devious Casanova and bring him to justice.

To avoid the Church’s wrath, a good friend suggests to Casanova he get married.  It will fool others into thinking he’s a reformed individual.  Casanova has chosen a beautiful young girl named Vittoria, closely guarded by her father and renowned for her virginity.  His problems appear to have been solved.

That is until Casanova meets his perfect opposite.  Her name is Francesca (Miller) and her confident demeanour and opinionated views have captured his attention.  She loathes Casanova and finds it sad that he can sleep with so many women and yet never find true love.  Knowing he would have no chance if he were to reveal his identify, Casanova takes on a “nom de plume”.  Pretending to be wealthy lard salesman named Paprizzio, his seduction of Francesca begins…

Casanova is a light-hearted farce which I enjoyed for its wit.  Everyone is deceiving everyone and it’s funny to see the crazy situations they become involved in.  There’s one scene in which Casanova is seated at a table with Victoria’s father (who thinks he is Casanova) and Francesca and her mother (who think he is Paprizzio).  I should also mention that promiscuous Victoria is currently under the table.  You have to laugh as Casanova tries to worm his way out of another curly predicament.

Directed by Lasse Hallstrom (The Cider House Rules, Chocolat), Casanova was filmed on location in Venice.  The lavish costumes and special effects do a great job of transporting us back into the 18th Century (where the film is set).  Those that have been to Venice will recognise many of the locations and it does justice to what is regarded as one of the world’s most romantic cities.

So what is the ideal release date in Australia for such a film?  The answer is Valentine’s Day and Casanova will give romantics much to swoon about.