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Friday, May 6, 2011

Movie Review: Mad Love

Mad Love
Canal+ EspaƱa
115 mins.
August 30, 2002 (USA)
Rated: R

Mad Love is a Spanish foreign film on the life of Juana of Castille – or Juana La Loca. I watched this film last year and wrote a mini review for a challenge, but I wanted to expand upon that for a full review of the film. Just a heads up, the film is in Spanish but there are English subtitles. I had wanted to see this film for a long time, but the fact that I would have to really pay attention and read the subtitles had me pushing it off for awhile.

I had some knowledge of Juana before watching this film but this was a story that intrigued me to want to learn more. I still haven’t had the chance to read The Last Queen by C. W. Gortner, but after watching this film it has made me want to all the more. The film follows Juana from just before her marriage to Felipe to after his death.

The actress who portrayed Juana, Pilar Lopez de Ayala, did a fabulous job at being totally in love with Felipe and acting out in jealous, "crazy" rages. I felt for her as she did everything she could to keep the man she was totally in love with all to herself, when even the court was pushing for her to be put aside. The best scene is when she encounters Felipe’s mistress – great acting! I can absolutely see why she has won several awards for this role, including the Goya Award for Best Actress (equivalent to Academy Awards in Spain). Daniele Liotti plays Felipe very well as a very crafty individual who is used to getting what he wants. The set design and costumes are gorgeous!

The plot of this film does make Juana out to be crazy, but it certainly sets up the scenarios that send her off the deep end. It gives reasons for her jealousy and expands upon her exhaustive need for her husband. It doesn’t just pursue the story that she was crazy, period.

This film had such a deep and emotional story that it was so easy to get sucked into the film. I can’t believe that I waited so long to see it – I couldn’t pull myself away from the story. It is certainly something that I would watch again. Many people are hesitant to see this film because they have a preconceived notion that Spanish film are “soap-opera” like – do not hesitate, this film is nothing like that. This film receives my highest recommendation.

Check out this trailer:

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. I loved this movie! I first saw it many years ago and have been fascinated with Juana ever since. When I heard about Gortner's book two years ago, I wanted to read it so bad, but could never quite get my hands on it. Thanks to my lovely holiday swap partner last year, I received it for Christmas and was able to read it early this year. Loved it, of course! Juana will never fail to fascinate me.

    The funny thing is I hated Felipe in the film, but I despised him even more in the book. And I totally agree about Pilar's acting. She was excellent. Wonder why she hasn't crossed over into more mainstream like Penelope Cruz?

    So thrilled that someone else has finally seen this movie! Now I'm not the only one. =O)

  2. Great review! I completely agree with what you said. I watched this movie a few years ago and was really impressed by how they handled the story, as well as by Ayala's portrayal of Juana La Loca. It's a highly enjoyable movie for anyone who loves history.

  3. Michelle - I had heard about this film somewhere and was thrilled to find it on Netflix. I love that I can get my hands on foreign films through Netflix, because my local rentals never have them. I can't wait to read the book by Gortner.

    Irena - It really was a great movie and Ayala was just wonderful.

  4. oh, cool! I've got The Last Queen on my list at the library but haven't gotten around to reading it yet.

  5. Lady Q - I have had The Last Queen for over a year and just keep looking at it on the shelf!


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