‘Casanova, Last Love’ Review: Re-evaluating a Philanderer

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French director Benoît Jacquot (“Diary of a Chambermaid”, “Farewell, My Queen”) is a master of costume dramas with an erotic bent. By comparing aristocratic whims to the uglier experiences of the working class, she downgrades her European era piece to the world and is never afraid to visualize the inappropriate biological realities beneath all those pants and plaid skirts.

Her latest venture into the world of powdered wigs and palace intrigue, “Casanova, Last Love,” is no exception, although it pales in comparison to hotwomen movies.

Jacquot reevaluates the notorious womanizer by portraying him not as a hoarse pursuit of pleasure, but as a battered sad sack living in exile. In this world, playboys are pathetic and pathetic, which seems like a plea for modern audiences to let the malevolent men looser.

Framed as a series of flashbacks, the film follows Casanova as he wanders around the English court like a ghost – a much rougher place than his usual pauses. He falls in love with Marianne de Charpillon (Stacy Martin), an attractive but brutal prostitute who claims to have met him once before.

Thus begins a casual cat-and-mouse game that highlights the ambiguity of La Charpillon’s intentions, complemented by the dimly lit fields and dreamy velvet textures of cinematographer Christophe Beaucarne.

The great French actor Vincent Lindon plays brooding types, often with a menacing streak, but here he fills his Casanova with subtle poignancy. Still, it’s an interesting performance that makes Casanova no longer a credible playboy.

Perhaps that is the intent: appearances and reputations are deceiving. While it questions our assumptions about figures like Jacquot, Casanova, and scribbled women like La Charpillon, he leaves it here and leaves us wondering exactly what all this is for.

Casanova, Last Love
Not rated. French and English, with subtitles. Duration: 1 hour 38 minutes. In movie theaters.

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