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Based on a true story of a Venetian courtesan in the 16th century, the story of Veronica Franco (Catherine McCormack) is an example of the capacity of one woman in the face of gender prejudice, ignorance and hypocrisy. Unable to marry the man she loves, Marco Venier (Rufus Sewell) because her family doesn’t have either the prestige or the cash to match his high standing, Veronica’s mother, Paola (Jacqueline Bisset) teaches her to be a superb courtesan, stressing the importance of education as well as sensuality and grooming. Veronica soaks up literature and knowledge at the library before embarking on a spectacularly successful career in a decadent Venice, entertaining the richest and most powerful men. Marco, meanwhile, in an arranged marriage to Giulia de Lezze (Naomi Watts), continues to love and pursue her. Veronica uses her charms to help convince the king of France (Jake Weber) to lend some ships, but when the Black Death starts ravaging Venice, they blame her and the other courtesans. The Inquisition arrives and puts her on trial as a witch, needing all who love and/or admire her to stand up for her if she is not to be put to death.

"Even without having read the biography, it is evident that this adaptation works magnificently. It works on all levels, from the visual to the emotional, from the technical to the poetic, submersing us in this other world. McCormack and Sewell are excellent in two challenging roles, making us care and feel for them; Australian actress Naomi Watts has the difficult role of the arranged wife and she works wonders with it. The script is intelligent and restrained, and the direction satisfyingly dynamic. Garwood’s production design and Fenton’s score add enormous values to the engrossing nature of the film, and the well executed story delivers a mighty payoff in the final sequences. There are also moments of high sensuality, appropriately enough, to underpin Veronica’s allure and the power she gained from her bed. An engrossing and entertaining film, full of accessible and modern relevance."
Andrew L. Urban

"Sensuous, passionate and visually stunning, Destiny of Her Own will sweep you away into an exotic world of beauty, temptation and power. Set in the allure and mystique of Venice, whose extraordinary splendour and physicality make their own statement, here is a moving love story that lifts the spirits, captures the imagination and truly satisfies the romantic. A strong script, stunning cinematography, and the rich golden glow of the production design creates an enticing mood, capturing the poetry, the sensuality and the elegance. George Fenton's affecting score and powerful orchestrations weave textures that reach the subliminal. Rufus Sewell is every inch the romantic hero, while Catherine McCormack combines a lusty spirit with ardour and intelligence. Theirs is a scorching love story that will burn into your soul, refreshing in its honesty, heartfelt by its depth. The chemistry sizzles, the love scenes exquisite, exemplifying the purity and beauty of true love. In many ways it's an old fashioned love story balanced by today's sensibilities, and clearly addresses feminist issues. Beauty and allure enable the skill of seduction easily, but it's intelligence and wit that make the difference. Glorious to the eye, jolting to the heart Destiny of Her Own is an overwhelmingly moving and truly beautiful film that should not be missed."
Louise Keller

"This exquisite and lavish drama has been an interminable time coming. Based on the novel The Honest Courtesan, the film has drifted through a conglomeration of title changes, from the original book derivation, to just Courtesan, then the infantile Dangerous Beauty, and now the more stupid Destiny of Her Own. Do distributors think audiences are stupid? Why release the film at all if they're going to go about confusing them with titles that don't mean anything. Aside from all that, what is now Destiny of Her Own is an extraordinary film, a hypnotic and enthralling examination of sexual hypocrisy in Renaissance Italy. Set against this powerful and majestic backdrop, lies an intricate and sexually charged love story. This is a film about class, social mores and sexual politics, beautifully orchestrated and treated with sharp doses of wit. It's also a film that belongs to the sublime Catherine McCormack, who lights up the screen and proves a radiant and sensual presence as she transforms herself into a high-class courtesan (prostitute). Sewell is also terrific, as is the always-reliable Oliver Platt, and Australia's Naomi Watts as Sewell's suffering wife. Production values are top notch. The recreation of 16th century Venice is magnificent, and the film is a visual feast of stunning costumes and beautiful cinematography. A Destiny of her Own is also a richly complex drama, beautifully written and directed with assuredness by Marshall Herskovitz. It's an unforgettable entertainment to be sought out and devoured."
Paul Fischer

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(aka Dangerous Beauty)

CAST: Catherine McCormack, Rufus Sewell, Oliver Platt, Moira Kelly, Naomi Watts, Fred Ward, Jacqueline Bisset, Jeroen Krabbe, Daniel LaPaine, Justine Miceli

DIRECTOR: Marshall Herskovitz

PRODUCER: Marshall Herskovitz, Edward Zwick, Arnon Milchan, Sarah Caplan

SCRIPT: Jeannine Dominy (based on The Honest Courtesan, by Margaret Rosenthal)


EDITOR: Steve Rosenblum, Arthur Coburn ACE

MUSIC: George Fenton


RUNNING TIME: 112 minutes



VIDEO RELEASE: Sept 8, 1999


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