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Rated NR

Drama
This distinct and layered feature by prolific Spanish writer/director Vicente Aranda re-examines the controversies concerning the Catholic Monarchs of Castile circa early 16th century (not to be confused with the failed 1995 romantic comedy of the same name starring Drew Barrymore and Chris O’Donnell.) Once Princess Joan wedded Archduke Philip (aka the brunette Fabio of the 1500s) out of political obligation, she smothered her new husband with uncontrollable jealousy and obsession. Upset since this hindered his ol’ swinging bachelor ways with hookers and strippers, Philip contrived a vindictive plot to declare his wife insane in order to commit her indefinitely to the Monastery of Las Huelgas and to proclaim himself King. However, the tables quickly turned on this malicious plot as Philip’s accusations of his wife’s madness appeared to hold some truth, and the governing of Spain hung in the balance. Even though it’s not the grand epic saga that it wanted to be, an intriguing historical event is detailed with modest effort, intent and verve.

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