Casanova (TV Mini-Series 2005– ) Poster

(2005– )

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fast-moving and well-planned biopic
didi-520 April 2005
This version of 'Casanova' is worlds apart from the one which ran on UK TV some twenty plus years ago. Now, in 2005, Russell T Davies (in demand at the moment as the key writer of the new Doctor Who) has developed a Casanova for our times, with modern phrases and references (there are National Lottery slogans; Casanova sings 'the wheels on the carriage' to his young son), while still devoting attention to the serious aspects of the story.

David Tennant plays the young Casanova, swaggering his way from the Italian peasantry to the faux-aristocracy of France, and to England. He is by turns irritating, sprightly, and sexy, a convincing character study of the most legendary seducer in history. His on-off relationship with the beautiful and mysterious Henriette (Laura Fraser) is central to the story, as she betrays and entices him into dangerous situations. His sexual romps are done very much in 'Carry On' style.

Peter O'Toole is the old Casanova ('an old librarian in a damp castle'), reduced to little more than a servant with his memories. As usual, he is magnificent in a complex role. Funny and charming, but with a painful past. The old Casanova makes you laugh and tugs at your heartstrings too. A - I hope - Bafta-worthy performance.

Other names to watch for in the cast include Nina Sosanya as Bellino, the castrato singer who steals our hero's heart in episode 1; Nickolas Grace as the French Chancellor; Matt Lucas as a perfumed Duke of Villars; Rupert Penry-Jones as the odious Grimani; and Shaun Parkes as Rocco, the observer on the sidelines of the young Casanova's life.

Inventively filmed (repetitions, odd angles, slow motion, extreme close-ups) and with a lively (if silly at times) script, this is an entertaining three hours.
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Despite some reservations, a marvellously engaging and enjoyable programme
kbelyea5 January 2006
After watching bits of "Queer As Folk", a season of the new "Doctor Who", the "Doctor Who" Christmas special (also listening to the accompanying commentary) and the three parts of "Casanova", I think I've figured out what it is that frustrates me about Russell T. Davies's writing: its inconsistency. If it was merely mediocre, I'd simply dismiss it as such--but it's not.

His stories do have characters, scenes, and story arcs that are absolutely wonderful; his attention to detail can be minute; his dialogue can be scintillating in its irreverence and vivacity and his plot development can display astonishing originality. But these moments of brilliance are offset by under-developed secondary characters, unconvincing gaps in the plot, frankly ridiculous surprise twists, huge leaps of logic, jarringly crass jokes, lines intended merely to shock and unexplained dialogue non sequiturs. When I watch his work, I find my reactions alternating between, "Wow, this is great!" and "WTF?"

As for "Casanova" specifically: on balance, I love it. It's funny, engaging, exciting, romantic, sexy, and devastatingly sad at the end. It portrays a compellingly sympathetic Casanova and makes me curious about the real historic figure. While I personally already enjoy a lot of "costume dramas", I applaud this production's efforts to bring a younger and hipper audience to the genre. The acting is fine across the board and the leads (David Tennant and Peter O'Toole especially) are excellent. The innovative direction is effective. Since I knew beforehand not to expect historical accuracy, most of the anachronisms didn't bother me.

My chief complaint aside from the Russell T. Davies stuff mentioned above is probably with the music, the quality of which, like the writing, varied widely in my opinion. Some of it was fantastic, to be sure, but a significant amount was irritating and intrusive. And, call it a personal pet peeve if you will, but I really really dislike the sound of synthesized strings and brass. If it's a choice between what are obviously synthesizers and minimal or no instrumental accompaniment, I almost always prefer the latter.
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It works for me
dilly_dot6 April 2005
Russell T Davies and the enthusiastic cast has given this a real feeling of life and excitement using the exterior shots in Venice to their best advantage. David Tennant is brilliantly engaging, funny and attractive playing the 'lad about town' with such confidence and swagger and a touch of vulnerability that it's not difficult to understand why he attracted all his conquests. Casting O'Toole was inspired and at one point with both he and Tennant on screen I was struck by how well they seemed to 'match up' in a way that Ewan Magregor and Alec Guiness (for example) could not. Laura Fraser who I always thought was overlooked in "Knight's Tale" is perfect as the elusive Henriette. I'm looking forward to the rest
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Drama never intended to be documentary
uisliu6 January 2009
I've read through all the previous comments and there is a puzzling divergence in the reactions to this work. There are significant numbers who seem to have expected this to be a documentary drama and have berated Davies for writing something at odds with the historical Casanova's life. This is missing the point entirely. It's like criticising Shakespeare in Love for being "inaccurate." This is a romp, with a hint of sadness, based upon Giacomo Casanova's memoir/autobiography. It is obviously intended as a diversion, every aspect of the production aiming at no more than the spirit of the thing, mixing today's argot and attitudes with those of C18 Venice.

Russell T Davies's work is of a very particular style, knowing and self-conscious (one critic here seemed to think this was inevitably a bad thing) and, above all, camp and celebratory. If you don't warm to his style then avoid his work is my advice. For those who can accept it for what it is and what it intends, it is glorious stuff.
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i_heart_everybody25 October 2005
I absolutely LOVED this Casanova creation. So far, only seen the first part of the series yet but I 100% adored it. The acting, in my opinion, was just brilliant - David Tennant creates his own cheeky yet appealing characterisation of young womaniser Casanova and Peter O'Toole - being the amazing thespian he is - is just sensational as the older Giacomo Casanova. The acting, casting and directing of this mini-series is such a thrilling, refreshing change from all the junk on TV and movies nowadays! Back to the pure drama that so often gets lost in the midst of big-headed celebrity-movies, this Shakespearian-influenced mini-series is a MUST SEE! Cant wait for the second part! I give it 10/10!!
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"Lad" culture transplanted to 1780s Venice.
Clive-Silas14 March 2005
If I were a budding TV writer, I'd change my name to Davies. First there was Andrew who produced a fascinating and quirky little series called A Very Peculiar Practice, and the next thing you know he is writing every single adaptation we see, not infrequently for both rival terrestrial UK channels at the same time. Now it appears to be the turn of Russell T., who parlayed his gay sex shockfest Queer As Folk into Bob and Rose, Doctor Who and now this irreverent and somewhat over the top examination of the life of the infamous lover, Giacomo Casanova.

It's funny, it's irreverent, it's very fast moving and it keeps you watching. Completely eschewing period-ese language, David Tennant portrays Casanova as a cheeky on-the-up spiv who in the 21st Century might well have put himself forward as a contestant for Big Brother. He is instantly likable. Laura Fraser is very strong as the "lost love" interest, Henriette.

Disappointingly the programme seems to regard Casanova's lovemaking prowess as a minor detail, relegating it in the opening episode to a montage of fully-clothed sex scenes that are little more than snapshots. This sense of holding back was compounded when Casanova ripped his new wife and former fake-Castrato-in-travéstie singer Bellino's dress open so that it gaped for the assembled crowd - but not for the camera! This apparent prudishness seems to go against the spirit of the remainder of the enterprise. Perhaps after the Jerry Springer débacle, the BBC is taking no chances.

Peter O'Toole, as the older Casanova explaining his life story to a girl of formerly high family who has fallen on hard times and is acting as his maidservant, performs his part with all the best elements of his enormous experience, both as an actor, and of his own scarcely stain-free life story. He is so remarkably vigorous, agile and attractive (at 73!), he reminds you why he nearly turned down his Life Achievement Oscar in the hopes, still, of one day "getting a real one".

A worthwhile little production for the fledgling BBC Three, much better than the scanty Alan Clark Diaries.
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Nothing is perfect, but this comes close.
grandmastersik22 February 2007
I was fortunate enough to catch this on television one evening, right out of the blue.

Normally I don't watch much TV, but this came on following some programme that was playing to itself and it grabbed me almost instantly with its humour.

Being broadcast on Finnish television over two evenings, I was agog to see the second part, for the first half of this one was touching, funny, and so uniquely entertaining - with a brilliant cast to boot!

By the end of the entire thing, I felt a strange sensation within me: INSPIRATION.

Oddly enough, some American-produced film based on the same individual came out not long after, with some daft Australian actor at the helm. That piece was pretty hyped-up and well marketed, being released into cinemas rather than straight to TV.

I've not seen this other "version" and don't intend to ever - I've heard enough about to to know that it couldn't possibly stand up to the challenge of comparison I'd be making whilst watching it.

Read other reviews if you want to get a plot over-view; this article is simply to sing the praises for what was a beautiful, witty and powerful piece of film - recommended viewing for all!

Now: if only it had been THIS film that had the backing of millions of Hollywood cash...
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Absolutely amazing!!
tigerbaby_1984-112 March 2006
I cannot express how wonderful this drama is. I watched it when it was first on BBC 1, and then watched the re-run on BBC 3...i have now just bought the DVD and can watch it over and over again. This dramatic comedy was fantastically written by Russel.T.Davies (Doctor Who) and wonderfully produced and directed. The acting too is superb (and i'm not just saying that because i'm a HUGE David Tennant fan either!). Peter O'Toole as the older Casanova deserves the Oscar he never received, for this role alone! Such emotion, such tension, such comedy, such tragedy...a true British masterpiece. Which brings me on to my favourite subject...David Tennant...could a better Casanova have been cast?? He has the character traits of the legendary Casanova down to a tee, and injects that quick wit and hilarious comic timing like he was born for the role (although check him out as the Doctor!) 11/10 *BIG thumbs up*
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Dazzling Spectacle
Sweet_Ophelia11 June 2006
Russell T. Davies's "Casanova" is a biopic of the real-life ladies-man from 17th century Venice, the infamous Giacomo Casanova. The 2-part series uses the real Giacomo Casanova's biography "The story of my life" as frame-work. The story is told by Casanova himself (Peter O'Toole), at the age of 73 when he was employed as a librarian for a wealthy nobleman. The aged Casanova tells his story to the curious servant-girl Edith (Rose Byrne) whose father told her tales of Casanova and all his adventures. David Tennant of 'Doctor Who' fame plays the young Casanova, and Shaun Parkes his loyal side-kick, Rocco. By 1750 the real Casanova had worked as a clergyman, secretary, soldier, spy, and violinist and bedded some 122 women. Davies's series touches on Casanova's talents, but at the heart of the old cad's story is his love for the one woman he could never have; Henriette (Laura Fraser), who was engaged to a nobleman in Venice when she and Casanova first meet, and then the two were torn apart when Casanova was imprisoned in 1775. After his famous escape in 1756, the story follows Casanova, Rocco and one of Casanova's many bastard children as they travel around Europe looking for legal pardon while meeting the greatest men and women of the day.

Russell T. Davies is fast making a name for himself; having written for cult television shows like "Queer as Folk" and the current series of "Doctor Who", "Casanova" is another triumph for Davies. The writing is fresh and witty, and extremely well delivered by the irrevocably charming David Tennant, who passes well for the infamous 17th century cad. The best part of the series is the costumes and sets – absolutely over the top and fabulously colorful outfits with modern twists coupled with dazzling, spectacularly lavish sets. It really is a welcome eye-ful.

"Casanova" is an absolutely wonderful 2-part series written by the up and coming Russell T. Davies and starring one of Scotland's best new commodities, David Tennant. Definitely worth a watch.
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laughing_cat9 October 2006
I turned on PBS last night and ran into this movie completely by accident. I was hooked immediately. It is so funny and unusual. The fact that everything happens to the young Casanova by chance is one of the things that makes it good. He is goofy, low-born, and self-effacing, as opposed to Heath Ledger's smug, overly confident Casanova in the film recently in theaters (which I found very boring.) This CASANOVA is definitely worth my time and yours. The supporting characters are enjoyable and the sets and costumes are amazing, full of color and authenticity. It was a spectacle for the ears and the eyes, I especially liked the colorfest during Casanova and Bellino's ball. Enjoy!
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For those of you who enjoyed this,do yourself a favour now and pick up Casanova's autobiography!!!
AdriCraw28 January 2007
I registered here just so I could say this. I've also written a review of this marvellous book for amazon. I'd watched this BBC3 mini-series,then seen the recent Heath Ledger movie,but I wasn't convinced.I felt the urge to go back to the source, Casanova's Memoirs, as written by the man himself. I started off with an abridged edition, now I can't wait to read the whole thing! Many fellow reviewers here seem to consider this mini-series historically accurate. It's definitely better than the Heath Ledger version, but still only a pale shadow of the Casanova that comes to life when you read his autobiography. It's not so much that the facts are wrong (though some are),as the emphasis laid on events, and the tone is just totally off.

I approached the Memoirs with some fear,as I imagined they'd be rather boring, or dated, or rambling.How wrong I was! I found myself taking the book to the loo with me, unable to put it down while I was doing things around the house. I took it to work with me and read it whenever I had a spare moment in the office.I cannot express how fascinating the real figure of Casanova is, and how amazing, bizarre, amusing and exciting his adventurous life was. If this wasn't the most interesting man that ever lived, he came damn close. His life was so eventful, it could have filled the lives of a dozen normal men. The best fiction can only dream of being half as entertaining! His beautiful writing style, smooth as silk, makes him come across as clever, witty, insightful, sharp, elegantly sarcastic but not cynical. He was arrogant, yet self-deprecating. He was also comically big-headed, but ultimately likable for his emotional honesty, his amazing intelligence and great imagination,some would argue *too great* an imagination, even! He was interested in so many aspects of life, from the recipe for making the best hot chocolate to the great philosophical issues of his age. He mingled with rich and poor alike and was interested in all walks of life.

In contrast, David Tennant's Casanova is just an ordinary cheeky, good-looking young buck. He has the subtlety and culture of a Big Brother contestant.His wit and ways would probably not charm people two and a half centuries from now. He is not someone you could imagine outwitting Voltaire, impressing Frederick the Great, making revisions to the libretto of a Mozart opera, writing history books, being a magician and an alchemist, dabbling in sci-fi (no,I'm not kidding you!),translating the Iliad, playing the violin, a chemist and mathematician and many more things besides. Reading Casanova's memoirs, you'll feel like you've been teleported to the 18th century! I never felt that way while watching the mini-series,it was just another swashbuckling adventure starring a nice-looking but predictable cheeky chappy not even pretending to be anything but an ordinary English lad. Of course the now-obligatory "woman of character" who wins his heart was also there -I have to say Laura Fraser was quite lovely,though.

The real Casanova was famous for being a great seducer, but it wasn't so much the number of women he bedded, as the way he did it that's remarkable. Scholars say he had just over 200 lovers,which isn't huge by the standards of someone like a successful contemporary rockstar. Bur Casanova was interested in every aspect of seduction and that included engaging the lady in discourse as well as showing her a good time between the sheets.He wouldn't bed any old bimbo.In an age when women had no right to a satisfying sex life,Casanova was well ahead of his time. He wasn't moralistic about women and their sexual behaviour, believing they had as much of a right to enjoy sex as men, something unheard of at the time.He was more concerned with giving one woman he really liked several orgasms during the course of one night, than bedding more women during that same night, just so he could add more notches to his bedpost. Also, it isn't true, as the movie adaptations say, that no woman could resist him, as some did reject him. Also oftentimes it was women who seduced him rather than the other way round, he was also duped and exploited by some of them,and he did meet many strong and intelligent women in his lifetime.

Before you think I'm idealising him,let me say that he was also an appalling figure (again, something you never get a sense of in the mini-series) and was a living contradiction. He could be an exquisite gentleman and on other occasions, a rogue. He also spread std and unwanted pregnancies around Europe, though he did occasionally do his best to avoid fathering illegitimate children. But by his day's standards, Casanova was a man who genuinely loved and respected women,believing them to be rational creatures rather than bundles of hysteria and emotional fragility. It's difficult today to appreciate how revolutionary that was. Unlike proper cads, he remembered all his conquests as individuals, describing them in detail as thinking,feeling creatures one by one.He was also famously bisexual,something that the mini-series doesn't even hint at! Despite macho the stereotype, Casanova was actually worlds apart from this laddish model of masculinity. Though some scenes in the book are rather explicit, even shocking,he is never vulgar or gloating. He also saw the humour in sex.

I even got my parents a copy of Casanova's Memoris, and they're in their late 60's! On the other hand,Tennant's Casanova occasionally comes across as smarmy,and the sex scenes are nothing special,just sex as anyone could have it. If you ever read the Memoirs, you'll never look back! Even the escape from prison is far more interesting in the book. Please do yourself a favour and skip this mini-series,as well as the Heath Ledger movie. Treat yourself to Casanova's autobiography instead,something I assure you you won't be regretting. You can thank me later! ;-) Mini-series:4/10, Casanova's Memoires: 10/10
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absolutely tremendous
feelinglistless28 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
In case you missed the trailer which has played about a hundred times over the past month, Casanova began tonight on BBC Three in a graveyard preview slot, rather like a weekend film preview in the hopes of creating good word of mouth before it turns up on a main channel. It's an interesting strategy, especially with something which is obviously a premium series for the beeb, and it should really pay off.

Because it's absolutely tremendous. From the opening shot which offers the ageing Casanova played by -- my god -- Peter O'Toole putting words into the mouth of his younger self essayed by instant star David Tennant as he tries to talk himself out of what is obviously yet another scrape, the show just rattles along throwing out costume drama convention after convention. It's been tried before in everything from the film Plunkett and McLean to a Channel 4 version of Anna Karenina from a few years ago, but here it actually works.

It more or less demonstrates why Russell T Davies is one of the best five script writers on TV. In the dialogue he manages to offer a contemporary blend without it jarring with the period. Using the framing device over the older telling the story of the younger, he manages to cover a lot of ground in plot and character terms but without the audience feeling short changed that they're missing the really good bits. But he also knows when to pull back and let the pictures tell the story. There is a great moment in which two people communicate across a crowded room, something I've never seen before in frocks and coats and it's utterly real.

But the directing and editing are fluid as well. Sheree Folkson previously worked on contemporary dramas like Burn It and the The Young Person's Guide to Becoming a Rock Star both of which had a kinetic energy which re-appears here. Forget establishing shots -- don't need them -- they'll just get in the way of the sight gags. The closest comparison I can think of is early Simpsons, that use of mounting montage leading to a punchline, comedic or emotional. I once went to a workshop with some people from Red Productions who are one of the companies behind this and they emphasised a philosophy of telling the story through what you can see and this really embraces that philosophy. The photograph is sumptuous as well; I'm not a huge fan of the Digital Video the BBC are using on their shows nowadays (tends to seem a bit washed out) but there are moments here which have the feel of a pure Technicolour production.

There's all that and there's the cast. I said earlier that David Tennant is an instant star, and he really is. He's just channelling the always excellent O'Toole's charisma to create this uberpersonality -- that ability to be totally likable even when he's (possibly) doing some bad things. Even with all the above the show would flatten out if he wasn't so good. To drop the inevitable reference, he has the magnetism of a young Tom Baker in his series of Doctor Who (although he sort also reminded me of Paul McGann in the audios -- that kind of curious happiness).

I'm also inevitably going to say that Laura Fraser is luminous, but she just is. I was afraid she'd just be getting a cameo, but she's Casanova's life long dream, always on his mind. The camera looks longingly at her in way I've not seen since Small Faces and underlines what a tragedy it is that she's not a STAR! Hopefully this will change that when it turns up on the main channel. I've not seen Rose Byrne before, but it takes something to match O'Toole yet there she is battling away as Edith the maid. I don't want to talk about the rest of the cast because it would give too much away but all are great too.

Just an excellent, excellent thing. If you missed it, I'd wait for the repeat before diving in. I'd imagine that you'll be losing a lot of the emotional resonance if you're just turning up for part two next week...
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Easily the worst Casanova in filmic history!
rch4278 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I'm absolutely dumbstruck by some of the reviews I've read here. The only explanation I can come up with is that most reviewers are unfamiliar with the historic Giacomo Casanova, and have never seen any of the vastly superior treatments of his story (such as "La Nuit de Varennes"). One of the reviewers even describes it as being about a man from the "17th century". Off by a hundred years, I'm afraid, which is roughly as far off as this movie is from either a well-done biographical film or a historically-accurate one. No, it's Hollywood (or rather, the British approximation of it) through and through.

This version is, in reality, a "Casanova" for the "Sex and the City" and "Men Behaving Badly" crowd; all winks and nudges and brash cheekiness. David Tenant is amusing, but absolutely lacking in charisma or depth, much less skill. In fact, he bears an uncanny resemblance to the bumbling characters that Eric Idle used to play. Peter O'Toole does an over-the-top caricature of himself; a role he seems to have been relegated to for the past 25 years. Sad, really. The rest of the cast seems to have been assembled from whoever was hanging around the studio that day, as they obviously weren't chosen for their verisimilitude or subtlety.

But the story is far the worst thing about this flick. The dialog is farcical, the plot is boilerplate, there are countless historical mistakes. For example, Casanova fires a pistol into the air to threaten a group of men, and says he'll shoot them next. Problem is, all pistols were single-shot for another hundred years; it would've actually taken him another 2 minutes to reload another shot; any man of the time would've known that! They also dance the waltz; something that didn't appear in Venice for another 50 years. I was surprised to not see Casanova riding a motorcycle while chatting on his mobile phone.

"Casanova" isn't above trying to titillate by teasing us with an "is she/isn't she" shtick about a mulatto castrato that Casanova "falls in love with". But of course, after playing around with the faux-mosexual aspect, surprise! -it's a girl after all, so the audience can all heave a sigh of relief at Casanova's good fortune. But the real Casanova was well-known to be bisexual (look it up on Wikipedia), although actually having the nerve to show that here seems to be beyond the film-maker's integrity, the audience's stomach, or (most likely) both.

The dialog swings between maudlin (when Casanova offers to rescue his prison cell-mate, he responds "but I can't leave; this is my home!") and stand-up comedy, as when Casanova makes his confession and rattles off a laundry list of the women he's slept with ("two sisters, at the same time. Many times. But at least I didn't sleep with their mother. Although I've done that. Many times. So sorry.") And I mustn't forget to mention that the sappy string synthesizers in the incidental music would be right at home in a third-rate soap opera. It's sad to see "Casanova" dumbed down this far. It's sadder still to see it overpraised by people who don't know the historic and literary Giacomo Casanova from Nathan Barley.
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A Mixed Bag
PBear_SF20 October 2006
A disappointing, low-farce approach to the subject at hand, contradictorily fettered with maudlin high melodrama in the latter-day scenes with O'Toole.

As biography it's a mess, full of deliberate modern-day anachronisms and tacky music-video flashiness, completely lacking in credibility (and a disgrace to the name of Masterpiece Theatre) -- but as low-brow British comedy, in the tradition of the CARRY ON films, it's great fun and mostly successful (thanks to Tennant's charming performance as young Casanova). It would have worked much better as a normal-length film, with the entire of the old Casanova scenes with O'Toole left out of the picture.

Apparently ran 10 minutes longer on the BBC than it did here in the US on PBS (censorship?).
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More a snack than real hearty fare
spambouk100016 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This version of Casanova is delightful in many ways. The cast is outstanding, especially Tennant as younger Casanova and O'Toole as the older Casanova (who is narrating the story to a young woman years later). The sets and costumes are lavish and romantic and the script is witty and funny. Tennant makes the most of moments such as "You love your wife, I love your wife, we're on the same side!" and also plays the romantic plot with his true love, Henriette, very well. Henriette is outstanding, as are Rocco (his friend and servant) and Bellino (who is almost a castrato, almost a man, and almost Casanova's wife).

Where the film goes wrong is in the later scenes. Casanova never seems to learn anything or to grow at all: by the end, I almost couldn't care less what he did or where he went. Also, by celebrating the idea of his "shocking" lifestyle, the script wants us to like him, and he isn't all that likable. This was most clear when it came to Casanova's affair with his daughter (yes, it was him and not his son who slept with Leonella. They had a child together and were an item, on and off, for quite a while). In wanting us to see him as a romantic ideal who "shocked" the old fogies, the film avoids any real shocking behavior.

In the end, this is a delightful romp that becomes tiresome because it never seems to understand what it wants to do: romp, celebrate, love or shock. Enjoyable but not much else.
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just a jewel u must have
mikey120720 April 2011
I have watched it with my girlfriend and normally I wouldn't care anything bout such movies but this one, this one made my heart break almost as hard as in the movie ...

It has lots of funny parts and David Tennant is just an incredible actor (can't wait to see him in the Hobbit) who has proved on many occasions to be one of the best (together with James Nesbitt) actors BBC has to offer.

The composition of the music works wonders with the screen, and really can describe the feeling that the actors are having, many credits for that goes to Murray Gold (respect for that)

Even if you are a big guy like myself, watch this mini series or movie... there will be others about Casanova but none will be as good as this piece of art.
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masterjk29 October 2006
This is a stinker. The costumes are probably accurate and that's about it. The hairdos aren't. The morals, manners and biography are not. Casanova's been made more a comic book figure. He was actually an interesting man... quite bright, talented and far more industrious than he's made out to be in this farce. It is in fact, nothing but a poor TV show. As for the acting...Tennant can't do more than hope to appear subsequently on an episode of Lost or some such drivel where everyone always looks lost. O'Toole tried desperately...that's desperately hard... to act. Once a great actor, he now reflects the downward spiral of Masterpiece theatre. Having people speak in the patois of Eastenders offers no verisimilitude for me. "Bullocks" indeed. The screenplay reflects the depth of a puddle in the profundity of life. And who did the music? Olie the Organ grinder? It is without a doubt one of the most pathetic scores I've ever heard. Of course, he may have been inspired by the script. As for part thanks. Nothing this bad could possibly improve to the point of watchability. I'm very sad to see Masterpiece theatre go. I've watched it from almost the beginning.
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Absolutely Devestating
chaz_burgess29 April 2006
This is costume drama at its unique best. Definitely displaying Tennants best work, Casanova is a hugely entertaining romp with plenty of action both in and out of the bedroom, along with lots of humour and heartbreaking romance. I admit I was devastated by the ending (you'll have to watch to see what I mean) The costumes and sets are wickedly done, the acting is first rate. There are moments people will find disturbing and scenes you wouldn't watch with your granny, but its still just in good fun. You are guaranteed to fall head over heels for Tennants Casanova who's character literally sweeps you off your feet within the first ten seconds of watching with his wit and charm. This is a great recommendation for romance lovers anywhere, but some moments in it are a little bit laddy!!!
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Brilliant !!
simspegasus15 January 2018
David Tennant plays the young Casanova so cheeky yet appealing , charming , hilarious and unique. Peter O'Toole plays the old Casanova and his performance is undoubtedly outstanding . The scenary, costumes and colours along with the acting , directing and witty script makes me take my hat off . This mini series will put a smile on your face and it's a must watch . Thank you so much Russell T Davies's for such a piece of magnificent work !
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Love Peter O'Toole and Rose Byrne
SnoopyStyle19 September 2015
Giacomo Casanova (Peter O'Toole) is working in obscurity as a poor librarian in a nobleman's castle. Edith (Rose Byrne) is a new servant. Her father gambled away the family wealth before his death. She is educated and in awe of Casanova's legend. He is writing his memoirs and recalls his life to her. As a boy, he is left behind by his courtesan mother. As a young man (David Tennant), he is penniless and without any connections. Henriette (Laura Fraser) likes the young pretender and immediately steals his purse. He takes Rocco as his manservant. He starts pretending to be a lawyer, a physician, an astrologer, a musician and others. Flirtatious Henriette gets engaged to pompous Duke of Grimani. Casanova falls for singer Bellino who is pretending to be a boy. Henriette continues to be his great love but she prefers the safety of Grimani's money. He saves rich noble Bragadin from callous physicians and their operation. Bragadin adopts Casanova and Henriette agrees to marry him. The jealous Grimani has Casanova imprisoned.

Peter O'Toole is a terrific Casanova. He exudes charm. I love his flirtatious cat and mouse game with Rose Byrne. If that is all in the movie, this would be a great masterpiece. It would be a movie worthy of some acting awards. O'Toole is bringing a power deep within him. It's a sight to behold. I am less in love of David Tennant as Casanova. He's more jokey. He doesn't have O'Toole's reservoir of darkness. Those parts feel less weighty and more like a TV movie of Casanova. It's still worthwhile to see but I wish the movie stays with O'Toole more.
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Don't look over there someone's inventing the sandwich
fudge_factory17 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I think the negative reviews are all from people after a genuine biography - not a humorous, clever, dramatisation of a mans life - which this was - clever, sad and brilliantly written. Casanova was witty, gentle, sexy as sin and ugh made me go weak at the knees! This was what it was, and I for one really enjoyed it - I found Henriette and Casanova's impossible love heart wrenching, and the dreary English court very funny. Seeing the fabulous colours and music from the other court made me want to go there.(however inaccurate it may be!) Rocco as the enduring friend and Jack as the silent son who eventually does just what Casanova does, but so very differently, without the care and love and time that made Casanova "the greatest lover that ever lived"
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Unexpectedly outstanding!
Manal198724 May 2009
Absolutely wonderful!! Never knew that David Tennant can be so cheeky and adorable! This is way much better than late Heath Ledger's Casanova. Ledger was sexy and everything, but Tennant really has what it takes to be a Casanova; he's cute, kind, and extremely funny. Peter O'Toole also fascinated me with his performance as usual... he really added grandeur and beauty to the work. Although it is a TV mini-series, the direction was really beautiful and managed to capture the fast-moving, adventurous and dazzling world of Casanova (the dark side of it as well!); Sheree really did a great job. This mini-series will make you cry, laugh, love and live!!
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Unique approach
grrrrarrggghhh13 April 2009
This is the second Casanova movie to come out in 2005. It's hard to say which one is better, because although they have the same main character, the approach is very different.

Here, Casanova is portrayed as a man constantly in love. A hopeless romantic, one could say. The evolution of the character is handled beautifully: in the beginning of the movie he's just a young boy, trying to find himself, developing slowly into a confident man, to the end, when he's a bitter old man, who stopped dreaming.

The direction is certainly memorable, shocking in some places, but the true asset of this movie is David Tennant. He's a spectacular actor, and (being an avid Doctor Who fan) I expected to watch this movie and say: "Look, there's the Doctor.", but he just detached himself from any previous role and he just was Casanova. I really ended up loving this movie because of his beautiful portrayal.

There's of course Peter O'Toole who was just as brilliant, in portraying old Casanova. Also, this is the first movie I've seen with two actors playing the same part -young and old- in which I could see the same character. Sure, O'Toole's Casanova is bitter and old, but you can see Tennant's Casanova developing into that person.

It's a movie definitely worth seeing. If you can't find the DVD, maybe you'll be lucky and catch it on BBC.
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Just awful!
dharmabum1966-12 June 2012
The only reason I can find for the plethora of good reviews of this film is that the positive reviewers love soft-core porn and bad dialogue.

Since I'm such a huge fan of David Tennant's from his time on "Doctor Who" I very much looked forward to seeing "Casanova". It turned out to be a complete waste of my time (and not much time because I could only put up with it for the first half an hour).

All of David's appeal, which is in abundance on "Doctor Who", was completely absent. From the terrible wig to the half-hearted sex scenes, his performance was a huge turn off. A sad waste of the great Peter O'Toole as well.
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The Cult Of Russell T Davies
Theo Robertson3 May 2005
I see that Russell T Davies is fast becoming the TV scriptwriting icon of the 21st century with shows like QUEER AS FOLK , DOCTOR WHO and this version of CASANOVA on his resume and being a massive fan of DOCTOR WHO this is the reason I watched . Don't you know that David Tennant is playing the legendary timelord on television next year ? Alas Davies is no Nigel Kneale and much of his reputation is hyped . Can anyone remember that pile of crap in the 1990s by Davies featuring bonking vicars ? A self contained soap that was so bad very few ITV regions showed it and the ones that did usually transmitted it about 1 am . QUEER AS FOLK was controversial but that was due to explicit gay sex scenes and DOCTOR WHO was a broadcasting legend and despite the high production values one thing is becoming clear in the new series - RTD is the weakest writer on the new show

With CASANOVA we see the faults and gimmicks of RTD's writing style (A)it relies on unexplained plot devices and (B) it's self conscious . An example on the first point happens when Casanova and his cell mate escape onto the roof of a prison then the scene cuts to the ageing Casanova relating of how he left Venice and then cuts to the younger Casanova in France . At no time is it ever revealed how Casanova and his cell mate managed to make it off the roof of the prison . The way Davies has structured the narrative allows him to escape from tight corners with little explanation and this happens a few times with CASANOVA . As for the second point there's scenes where young Casanova has the idea of starting a lottery and comes up with lines like " You've got to be in it to win it " and " It could be you " post modernist dialogue that will be instantly recognisable for a 21st century British audience but makes the viewer realise that they're watching a television comedy drama that was written in the 21st century . His work on DOCTOR WHO also suffers slightly from this

CASANOVA is watchable enough as entertainment but because it doesn't take itself at all seriously it's impossible for the viewer to take seriously as well . I also notice that over 60% of the registered voters have awarded this show ten out of ten ! What ? They think this is the greatest thing in the history of television ? I believe Mr Davies has far more friends than talent
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