Starring: Mira Sorvino, Fiona Shaw, Jay Rodan, Rachael Stirling, Ben Kingsley
Director: Clare Peploe
Triumph of Love is based on Pierre de Marivaux’s comedy of the 18th century.
It was groundbreaking stuff in its day. Its themes of deceit, betrayal, philosophy and romance were considered very daring indeed. Bernardo Bertolucci has been wanting to make it for years and its realisation is a pleasing, rather sensational film.
The Princess (Mira Sorvino) happens upon her sworn enemy Agis (Jay Rodan) as he emerges from a skinny dip in a pond. She is besotted with him and has to meet him.
The problem is that he is the willing captive of the philosopher Hermocrates (Ben Kingsley) and his scientist sister Leontine (Fiona Shaw) who are training him to mistrust all women and to depose one woman in particular, the Princess. To gain access to the estate the Princess dons the clothes of a man, and passes herself off as a devotee of Hermocrates. She is found out and so changes tack by professing her love to the three masters on the estate.
This mannered and beautiful-looking film is an enjoyable way to spend 107 minutes. But the story is just too cute and silly by our standards to be really engaging. It doesn’t even have a social punch line at the end that might reward an attentive viewer. Rightly it stays within the social constraints of its time. That leaves us wondering why the film-makers and we should have bothered.
Triumph of Love has nothing much to offend and just as little to make us swoon.