Whenever a filmmaker introduces his or her film through some kind of note that reads "this is a true story," I promptly open my barf bag (Mr. Cranky wouldn't be caught at a preview without one) and noisily fill it. "Dangerous Beauty" may be based on the actual story of a 16th century courtesan (that's Old English for "ho"), but everything is so glossy, so Hollywood, so unlike what life was actually like in Venice for courtesans, that the filmmaker's claim of "truth" is about as genuine as a that of a Brit claiming to experience "emotion."
With air brushes and make-up assistants scurrying about like rats, "Dangerous Beauty" tells the "true" story of Veronica Franco (Catherine McCormack), a suspiciously '90s woman forced to become a courtesan because her station in life doesn't allow her to marry her love, Marco (Rufus Sewell).
Her mom (Jacqueline Bisset) teaches her the fine art of the courtesan at a time when it's the only profession a woman can have that doesn't demand she stay inside all day and dress in black. Why people in Venice got married is anybody's guess, but apparently after tying the knot, husbands promptly locked their wives in the closet. Occasionally the women would emerge to complain, but that was about the extent of the excitement.
Basically what we have here is a modern day romance novel transplanted into ancient Italy. It's Cosmo set in the open sewer of 16th century Venice. If they had shown Cindy Crawford crapping in a wooden bucket and tossing it out the window, I might have bought more into the veracity of this so-called "true" story.
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