"I am writing My Life to laugh at myself, and I am succeeding.", Giacomo Casanova, on his memoirs. I say he would have loved this affectionate and fun interpretation of his life, one of the best things I have seen on TV for a long time.
Russell T. Davies commented that Casanova was "A dazzling and very funny story about a truly remarkable man, a genuine legend." and this 3 part story fulfills that promise from beginning to end.
I had no expectations when I came recently to watch Casanova, I video-taped it when it was first shown on the BBC, and it has languished on my shelf since then. Then Russell T. Davies brought back Doctor Who and David Tennant joined him. I thought maybe now was the time to see their first collaboration.
It was a riot from the start, full of farcical and bawdy situations, as well as genuine emotional depth, and a heartbreaking ending.
From my reading since then, I understand it only has a loose connection with the real story (in that some of the character names, and situations are the same, but the overall story is not), but really for Casanova as a man has already passed into legend, so that matters not.
Portrayed sympathetically and enthusiastically by David Tennant, who was delight to watch, both for his performance and for his striking appearance in knee-high leather boots. It was easy to see why women would fall for such a charmring and naughty man.
Equally, Rupert Penry Jones was a worthy adversary, with at one point, showing a poignancy that led me to not hate his character merely feel sorry for him. It is an interesting twist that in the real Casanova story, Rupert's character of Grimani is likely to have been Casanova's half-brother.
With some highly charged scenes, I recommend to you this wonderful modern reimagining of the Casanova legend.
because we see him through the eyes of the aged casanova, who is living hidden away as a distressed librerian in a bohemian castle, writing his memoires, having a lot of regrests about his life (where he could never have a relationship with his great love, henriette), casanova is not shown as the ruthless seducer he's often considered to be but becomes quite a likeable character.
most of "casanova" is really amusing and twinkle-toed but then again it's very tragic at times, since he can never forget henriette and longs for her all of his life. the very last scenes with the aged, dying casanova having found out that she still might be alive, hoping that he might meet her one last time, almost broke my heart. the cast is just wonderful. david tennant gives a most charming and powerful performance as younger casanova and the wonderful peter o'toole plays aged casanova with a dignity and rogue, that still gives an impression about how the legends might actually be true.
some scenes look very modern and tennant's casanova doesn't seem to age during 20 years but it doesn't matter because this mini-series doesn't seem to claim to be historically adequate and there lies a lot of it's fun in this. there's a lot of talk about sex (what else would you expect from a series about the life of the most famous lover of all times?) but „casanova" never gets rude or vulgar. so, if you want to have a good time with a great story with most intelligent dialogues, wonderful acting, some very good laughs (or at least a big grin on your face) and even some little tears as well and if you don't mind some scenes being a little promiscous, you really should watch this!
I expected to be bored out of my mind with a long-winded tale, tawdry bedroom scenes, and over-the-top acting, but, I forgot . . . this is the aptly named, "***Masterpiece*** Theatre!"
Peter O'Toole and David Tenant never let us think of Casanova as a mere, one-dimensional, sex addict. Instead, they portray Casanova as a man trying to fit into society on every else's terms, but in his own way. Peter O'Toole, especially, faintly conceals the older Casanova's, darker, more intense, side, which gives us a deeper understanding of Tenant's younger Casanova.
The two principal women of the first episode, Laura (Henriette) Fraser and Nina (Bellino) Sosanya, give bravura performances as the younger Casanova's true-love interests.
The only "problem" I had with the show was in trying not to think of the actors' British accents while watching them portray Italian characters, which was the only reason I didn't give this a higher score. However, great acting always overcomes such nitpicking!
This show is ultimately brilliant. It has a great ensemble cast, including legendary actor Peter O'Toole (Lawrence of Arabia) but also younger actors like David Tennant, who of course is the new Doctor Who.
This story is told from old Casanova's perspective and told in flashbacks of his rioutous life. It details Casanova's easy living lifestyle, his introduction to sex and his love for the beautiful Henriette, whoi is engaged to someone else, though really should be with Casanova.
This series is funny, but also sad. It has some brilliant costumes though and the acting is just great. Buy this on dvd because it is well worth it.