The Triumph of Love

Well dear readers, my obsession with “Battlestar Galactica” is still going strong, but I made the effort over my weekend to watch a movie so I could post a legitimate review; so here we are at Clare Peploe’s “The Triumph of Love” (2001).

Here’s a story right out of Shakespeare; the Princess (Mira Sorvino) is the daughter of a usurping king, now deceased; when her father was in power, he kicked out the real king, imprisoned him and his pregnant queen and left them to die there. But things never go according to plan in these things; the baby was smuggled out and left with an intellectual hermit, Hermocrates (Ben Kingsley), and his sister Leontine (Fiona Shaw), to wait for the day when the rightful heir can take back the throne.

The Princess, of course, has a different plan that doesn’t involve a prison sentence; on a recon mission, she tracks down the youth Agis (Jay Rodan) at the compound, but one look at his shapely bod, and it’s love at first sight for our Princess. But she’s also no fool; she and her handmaiden Corine (Rachael Stirling) disguise themselves as men and sneak into the compound, hoping to get the prince’s love and convince him to marry her so they can rule together.

Whew…and that’s only the back-story.

“The Triumph of Love” is based on the play by Marivaux (a French playwright) written in the early 1700s; I only mention that because the movie feels like an excessively talky enterprise that really could have used some more action. The actors don’t have too much to work with here, and they give it their all, but the endless, endless scenes of just two people talking, and talking, and talking just wears you down in the end.

It’s hard to judge the material properly because I’m betting audiences in the 1730s went wild over this stuff, and I hung in there as long as I could without a break (one hour), before I gave up to (hand)wash my dishes. Dishes people – the most dreaded, hateful chore ever devised, and I chose that over watching this film in one sitting.

But I’m no quitter; I made it back, and my misgivings over the material just kept multiplying. What angered me so much about the material is that the Princess, in various disguises, convinces all three of the principals that she’s in love with them and them alone, all so she can hang around and get Agis to fall in love with her.

I’m supposed to root for this match, but my revulsion wouldn’t let me; the Princess keeps toying with these lonely souls in her cruel love games just so she can get what she wants. For once, my stupid, ‘shipper heart was stone cold to this vixen and her dreams of love. How successful can a movie be when you’re longing for the heroine to get sent off to the nearest guillotine?

As I said earlier, I railing against a play written nearly 300 years ago, in a different time under different values and a different culture, but you what, I don’t give a frak. It’s offensive and not worth the time.

“The Triumph of Love” (2001)

Directed by Clare Peploe

Written by Clare Peploe, Marilyn Goldin and Bernardo Bertolucci

Starring: Mira Sorvino (Princess)

Fiona Shaw (Leontine)

Ben Kingsley (Hermocrates)

Jay Rodan (Agis)