[Screen It]


(2005) (Heath Ledger, Sienna Miller) (R)

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Romantic Comedy: A legendary, 18th century lothario meets his match in a fiery feminist from whom he keeps his identity secret, all as he tries to stay one step ahead of the Inquisition.
It's 1753 Venice and Giovanni Giacomo Casanova (HEATH LEDGER) is the locally born adventurer with a famous reputation as a ladies man. His latest such conquest -- of a young nun -- has him in hot waters with Vatican authorities. That leaves his local protector, the Doge (TIM McINNERNY), with only one solution and that's either settle down and get married or face the consequences.

Accordingly, Casanova and his assistant Lupo (OMID DJALILI) set out to find a suitable mate for him and believe they've discovered that in the lovely virgin Victoria (NATALIE DORMER). Her father couldn't be any more pleased to give his daughter away, but her neighbor across the street, Giovannni Bruni (CHARLIE COX) isn't as happy. And that's because he's madly in love with Victoria, but has never acted upon it.

His sister, the outspoken and pre-modern feminist Francesca (SIENNA MILLER), is in her own romantic predicament. It seems her late father pre-arranged a marriage for her, the thought of which she abhors. But since her mother Andrea (LENA OLIN) doesn't have the money to support them, Francesca is resigned to the thought of a loveless marriage.

Things become more complicated when Giovanni confronts Casanova about stealing away his girl, thus prompting Francesca to stand in for him during the ensuing duel. When Casanova learns it's really her, however, he's instantly smitten, but lies about his identity since she loathes the thought of his real self and legendary status.

Hoping to win her over, Casanova intercepts her suitor, the obese but rich businessman Paprizzio (OLIVER PLATT) who's led to believe - by Casanova and Lupo -- that Casanova is really a renegade author who's enthralled the public but angered the political types with his controversial writings. That writer as well as Casanova's reputation has summoned Bishop Pucci (JEREMY IRONS) from the Vatican who's determined to squash both heretics. From that point on, and as the ruse gets more complicated, Casanova does what he can to win over Francesca, the only woman ever to have won over his heart but who's also the least likely to succumb to his innate charms.

Fans of someone in the cast might want to, as might older teenagers looking for what might seem like a date movie to them.
For some sexual content.
  • HEATH LEDGER plays the legendary ladies man with a reputation for bedding many women. He ends up falling for Francesca, but lies about his identity to her (and deceives others) so that he has a shot of winning her over.
  • SIENNA MILLER plays a fiery, pre-modern feminist who's outspoken about such issues, although she's resigned to a pre-arranged marriage that will financially fund her family.
  • JEREMY IRONS plays the papal authority who desires to capture Casanova and charge him with heresy under the Inquisition.
  • OLIVER PLATT plays a wealthy if rotund businessman who's arrived in Venice to marry Francesca, only to be foiled by Casanova's deceptions.
  • LENA OLIN plays Francesca's mother who tries to convince her that marriage to Paprizzio is the only good alternative they have.
  • OMID DJALILI plays Casanova's right hand man who assists him in his deceptions.
  • NATALIE DORMER plays the lusty virgin who can't wait to marry and bed Casanova (she ends up trying to please him sexually from under a table at a ball).
  • CHARLIE COX plays Francesca's brother who's in love with Victoria but hasn't been able to bring himself to tell her and is upset when he learns Casanova is to marry her. He ends up losing his virginity to various prostitutes at a brothel.
  • TIM McINNERNY plays the local leader who defends Casanova from the Inquisition.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this romantic comedy that's been rated R. Profanity consists of a handful of minor expletives, while some colorful and religious phrases are also uttered. Various instances of non-explicit, but sexually related dialogue are present, as are partially seen, off-screen and implied sexual encounters (including Casanova deflowering a nun, a different woman sexually servicing him from under a table at a ball, and a young man losing his virginity to various prostitutes at a brothel). Other sexual comedy (including a young woman showing exaggerated lusting for a man) also occurs, while various women show cleavage and a period-style figurehead on a boat shows a figure with bare breasts.

    A few instances of adventure style violence (swordfights, some fighting and striking of others) are present, but are played lightly along with some slapstick style material. The latter being the case, we know two characters who are about to be hanged ultimately won't be, but even so, that and a few escape scenes might be slightly suspenseful for some viewers. Some of that material might be enticing for some kids to imitate, while various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes (including deceiving others, etc.). Meanwhile, very brief drinking and one instance of smoking are present.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

  • We see liquor in a decanter.
  • The local ruler lets Casanova go as long as he's on good behavior that includes no drunken escapades.
  • We see used wine in a glass.
  • A man has wine with dinner.
  • Casanova and Francesca have wine in a hot air balloon.
  • None.
  • All of the following is played in a light comedy fashion.
  • Casanova seduces various women (including a young nun) and deceives other (with the assistance of Lupo) to get what he wants (including assuming other identities, etc.).
  • Some may view Bishop Pucci as having a bad attitude for representing the Inquisition.
  • When Casanova's grandmother calls his mother a "whore," she responds she's an actress, with the grandmother replying, "What's the difference?"
  • A miscellaneous woman cheats on her husband with Casanova.
  • A nun (who's had sex with Casanova) lies about him to protect him from the Inquisition.
  • A speaker at a conference says that women only serve to distract men and remind them of their earthly appetite.
  • Casanova reads Francesca's secret writing so that he can have the upper hand (romantically) while dealing with Francesca.
  • Casanova looks through Paprizzio's private belongings.
  • Casanova lies to Francesca that he's really Paprizzio, her fiancÚ (who she's never met).
  • Victoria says she was a virgin, that her virginity was a gift, and that Casanova robbed her of that (but she's lying).
  • Various men serving the Inquisition come after Casanova and he flees. He ends up going across a roof with a pursuer falling off into some water, while Casanova nearly slides off and ends up near the edge. He then jumps across to another building to avoid capture (all played for light comedy adventure).
  • Francesca and Casanova are to be hanged by order of Bishop Pucci and nooses are even put around their necks, but an unexpected pardon saves their lives just in time.
  • A brief swordfight and escape at the end of the film is played for adventurous action rather than suspense.
  • Swords: Used to spar and/or battle others. See "Violence" for details.
  • The theater at our press screening had some audio issues, so the following should be considered a minimum. That said, we heard the following phrases: "You're a whore," "She was hardly a novice," "I'll be damned if I do," "Go to hell," "I'm in hell" and "It's what I've been saying, stupid."
  • While fleeing authorities, Casanova jumps from one building to another.
  • Casanova and Lupo spar with swords. Later, he and Francesca (in disguise) battle with swords, while a swordfight concludes the movie.
  • Some kids might be enticed to imitate Casanova in deceiving others about their or others' identities.
  • None.
  • A mild amount of playfully adventurous suspense music occurs in a few scenes.
  • None.
  • The theater at our press screening had some audio issues, so the following should be considered a minimum. That said, we heard the following: At least 2 damns (used as "damned"), 1 hell (another is used as the place, but not as an expletive), 3 uses of "Oh God," 2 of "Good Lord" and 1 use each of "God," "Good God" and "Oh my God."
  • The theater at our press screening had some audio issues, so the following should be considered a minimum. That said, we heard the following:
  • The old narrator tells us that there was one woman for every page written about Casanova, and that there are 10,000 of them.
  • When Casanova's grandmother calls his mother a "whore," she responds she's an actress, with the grandmother replying, "What's the difference?"
  • We see a montage of Casanova kissing on and fooling around with various women, some of whom sport varying amounts of cleavage. One reports her husband coming home, so Casanova hides, while we see legs sticking out of a gondola (possibly implying sex in another shot).
  • In a satirical play, a character states "Please make love to me again." We also hear a question about whether a delivery man has come yet and the suggestive reply is that he has and "he comes again tomorrow" (double entendre).
  • We see Casanova reaching out for a woman's cleavage and she asks how she knows he's Casanova. We then see a torso shot of him on top of her, thrusting, and we hear sexual sounds (that being his answer to her question). Later, men serving the Inquisition come after Casanova and he flees, briefly shirtless. A man tells the woman (who turns out to be a nun) that she'll suffer eternal damnation for one night with Casanova, prompting the woman to reply that it seems fair. Later, Casanova learns he's been charged with fornication with a novice, prompting him to reply half-jokingly, "She was hardly a novice."
  • A speaker at a conference says that women only serve to distract men and remind them of their earthly appetite.
  • Francesca talks of some man who's lucky with women in bed.
  • A man states that Venetians are given over to physical pleasure and skepticism.
  • A woman talks of people not being good in bed.
  • A man talks of a Venetian virgin and Casanova starts to say that there's no such thing until he realizes the man is talking about his daughter.
  • Victoria shows cleavage and tells her father that she wants Casanova. We see her eying Casanova as he talks to her father and she's acting aroused (in an over-the-top, exaggerated fashion played for comedy). The father tells Casanova that he's heard he has "a long...lists of conquests" (with the pause meant to imply the length of something else -- sexual). Later, while Victoria lustfully watches Casanova again, she breaks off part of a bridge railing (from being so worked up -- again, played for comedy).
  • Giovannni tells Casanova that Francesca has a secret lover (but that turns out to be something entirely different).
  • Thinking Francesca is going to meet her lover (as they follow her), Casanova tells Lupo (about a man asleep or passed out in the building), "She's completely worn him out." It turns out, however, that their relationship is nonsexual.
  • A puppet show mocks Casanova and his behavior, with the puppet telling another to show their chest. One then asks, "Where's your instrument" (double entendre), with the reply being "I'll pull it out in a moment."
  • Francesca thinks that Casanova is after her sexually (but thinking he's someone other than Casanova), adding something about being just another notch on his bedpost.
  • A woman tells Casanova that she left her window open for him, with him responding that there are so many windows and so little time.
  • The traditional, period figurehead on a ship shows a female figure with bare breasts.
  • Francesca and her mother show cleavage.
  • Bishop Pucci comments about fornication and heresy.
  • We see Paprizzio tied up, with lard and other stuff on his shirtless, large body (as part of Casanova's "treatment" for him).
  • Miscellaneous women show cleavage.
  • In a brothel, a woman invites Giovannni to a bed, telling him not to worry as "you're not my first virgin."
  • At a masked ball, Victoria tells Casanova that she can't wait anymore and wonders if they can find some place (to have sex). She then pulls him down to a chair while she's hidden under a table, pleasuring him in some unseen fashion. We see his surprised and then pleasured reaction, all played for comedy as he's joined by Francesca, Andrea and Victoria's father (all of whom are unaware of what's going on as he tries to contain his reaction). During this, Victoria's father comment about their being no intercourse before the wedding.
  • Bishop Pucci states that fornication on a massive scale leads to confusion.
  • Francesca shows some cleavage.
  • There's more talk of fornicators and fornication.
  • Victoria says she was a virgin, that her virginity was a gift, and that Casanova robbed her of that (but she's lying). Bishop Pucci then tells her that they can return her reputation and virginity to her, adding "We are the Catholic Church."
  • We see Giovannni in bed with various prostitutes, with lots of feet visible, some cleavage and lots of giggling and playful sounds, but no nudity or actual sexual activity. One hooker then tells him that they won't forget him, adding that he'll be a legend among the girls.
  • Bishop Pucci comments on the libidinous lust of Casanova and that he's a master fornicator.
  • Francesca shows some cleavage.
  • Paprizzio and Andrea passionately kiss, while Casanova and Francesca do the same.
  • Andrea smokes once.
  • When Casanova's grandmother calls his mother a "whore," she responds she's an actress, with the grandmother replying, "What's the difference?"
  • Casanova's mother leaves him when he's young.
  • We hear that Francesca's father is dead (from some time in the past).
  • The real (historical) Casanova.
  • The Inquisition.
  • Venice.
  • We hear that Francesca is in a pre-arranged marriage to a man she's never met.
  • Andrea states that marriage is a safe haven and that love is something else.
  • Casanova is labeled as a libertine.
  • Bishop Pucci says the anonymous writer (of liberated thinking) is a heretic.
  • Bishop Pucci states that fornication on a massive scale leads to confusion.
  • Seeing a hot air balloon take flight, Bishop Pucci proclaims that it's witchcraft.
  • Victoria ends up doing a pratfall of sorts.
  • Upset that Casanova is going to marry Victoria, Giovannni repeatedly whacks Casanova with his glove (played for laughs). In turn, Lupo whacks Giovannni with that glove.
  • Francesca spars with Casanova using swords (she's posing as Giovannni to defend his honor), with her then hitting him in the crotch or gut (all played lightly).
  • A bit of slapstick shows something large falling and striking a person on the head in an alley (we don't know their condition).
  • Francesca throws things at the man who serves as the liaison between her and her publisher.
  • Some guards struggle with a man.
  • We see a man attached to a board and he screams when a hot poker is applied to his skin (we don't see the actual contact).
  • We see that Bishop Pucci's men have Paprizzio on the rack and his assistant in some sort of swinging cage.
  • Paprizzio lifts Bishop Pucci off the floor by material around his neck (for interrupting him).
  • A hot air balloon has a hard landing after Francesca douses the flame keeping it aloft (but she and Casanova are unharmed).
  • There's some pushing and struggling among people, with Paprizzio punching one person and Casanova hitting several with one punch. More such contact occurs, with Casanova bashing one guard to a pole, while people are kicked by a person swinging through on a rope. We also see various people in a swordfight, that includes hitting and kicking, while Casanova does a backwards head-butt to a guard, knocking him back to a pillar, all played for light action.

  • Reviewed December 1, 2005 / Posted December 30, 2005

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