Dangerous Beauty – 1998 – English
Film directed in 1998 by Marshall Herskovitz, and starring Catherine McCormack, Rufus Sewell, Jacqueline Bisset, Oliver Platt, Moira Kelly, Fred Ward, Naomi Watts, Jeroen Krabbé…
Synopsis: In 16th century Venice, courtesans enjoy unique privileges: dressed richly in red, they read, compose poetry and music, and discuss affairs of state with the men who govern the Republic. When Veronica Franco comes of age, she cannot marry Marco Venier, whom she loves, because she is well born but penniless. Her choice: cloister or courtesan. She steels her heart, and with beauty and intelligence becomes the best. She’s a heroine when she helps convince France to aid Venice in war with Turks, but when plague descends, the Church charges her with witchcraft. At her inquisition, she must match wits with an old rival, speak for all women, and call courage from Venier.
Review: In 1583, Venice is the richest and most decadent city in Europe and its women are treated like property and few even knew how to read. The youth and witty Veronica Franco (Catherine McCormack) and the wealthy Marco Venier (Rufus Sewell), who is the brother of her best friend Beatrice (Moira Kelly), are in love for each other, but her mother can not afford the dowry for their marriage. When Marco tells Veronica that they can not marry to each other because he should have a marriage of state and his parents would oppose due to their social differences, Veronica’s mother Paola Franco (Jacqueline Bisset) tells her heartbroken daughter that she was a courtesan in the past, and now Veronica shall learn how to be a courtesan to support the family. The poetess Veronica becomes the most famous courtesan in Venice, loved by the powerful elite except Marcos. When the Turks threaten Cyprus, Veronica spends the night with King Henry (Jake Weber) and he gives the necessary ships to protect Cyprus. When the Inquisition comes to Venice, she is accused of witchcraft by the Church.
“Dangerous Beauty” is one of the most beautiful love stories I have ever seen, and based on a true story. Catherine McCormack is extremely gorgeous and this is probably her best role along her career, with a stunning performance. This movie is quite perfect, with a wonderful story, excellent screenplay, magnificent direction, witty dialogs, a fantastic cast and awesome cinematography, set decoration and costumes in the environment of Venice in the Sixteenth Century. It is impressive how this movie excited me with the most different emotions and I have just included it in my list of favorites. My vote is ten.