Mira Sorvino flies by the seat of her 18th-century breeches in this romantic gender-bender. The Princess (Sorvino) is reigning monarch of a country whose throne was usurped by her family. Plagued with guilt, she decides to right her forebears' wrong by returning the crown to rightful and handsome heir Agis (Jay Rodan). But her plan quickly goes awry: She accidentally spies on Agis as he prepares to take an afternoon dip, and his royal assets make her noble heart beat with desire. Head over heels in love, the Princess now wants to be Agis's subject and consort. But to get close to Agis, who's holed up in a sumptuous, secluded villa, the Princess must get past his life-long protectors: the brother-sister tag team of stodgy philosopher Hemocrates (Ben Kingsley) and scientifically inclined spinster Leontine (Fiona Shaw). They believe there's no room in the world for love and romance, and have imparted their beliefs into Agis; they've also taught him to despise his sworn enemy the Princess. To gain entry into the villa and conceal her true identity, the Princess and lady-in-waiting Corinne (the fetching Rachael Stirling) don drag and introduce themselves as Phocion, a traveling philosophy student, and his valet Hermidas. Phocion then starts bamboozling and seducing the villa's residents, all of whom seem quite open and receptive to his charms. When Hemocrates gets a little too close to learning the truth, the quick-thinking Princess assumes yet another personality, lusty lass Aspasie. But time is growing short and the Princess's whole elaborate scheme may blow up in her pretty face, forever losing her the man for whom she concocted it in the first place. Based on French dramatist Pierre Marivaux's 1732 play Le triompe de l'amour, director Clare Peploe's adaptation, produced and co-written by her husband, Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci, sets the right period tone on all levels. Kingsley and Shaw's terrific comic turns are a major asset, and the chamber music score is tuned to a 21st-century ear by way of electric guitar, played by Pink Floyd's David Gilmour. One of the filmmakers' few conceptual missteps presenting the story as a performance within a performance is an uninspired conceit better left on the page. But for all the complications, it's all surprisingly predictable. As for Sorvino, she can wear the clothes, but they don't necessarily make the man.
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- Released: 2001
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: Mira Sorvino flies by the seat of her 18th-century breeches in this romantic gender-bender. The Princess (Sorvino) is reigning monarch of a country whose throne was usurped by her family. Plagued with guilt, she decides to right her forebears' wrong by ret… (more)