A beautiful princess (Mira Sorvino) whose throne is threatened falls in love at first sight with the rightful heir to the throne, a lonely young man named Agis (Jay Rodan), in Clare Peploe's romantic comedy Triumph of Love. The film was… More A beautiful princess (Mira Sorvino) whose throne is threatened falls in love at first sight with the rightful heir to the throne, a lonely young man named Agis (Jay Rodan), in Clare Peploe's romantic comedy Triumph of Love. The film was adapted from an 18th century play by Marivaux. Peploe's husband, Bernardo Bertolucci, co-wrote the script and produced the film, which was shot, mostly handheld, on 16 mm. Sorvino plays a princess whose father murdered the father of Agis and took his power. Her enemies are preparing to correct that historical wrong, but when the princess boldly investigates, she finds herself smitten with the handsome Agis. Agis has been raised by a vainglorious philosopher, Hermocrates (Ben Kingsley), who kept Agis secluded on his estate for his own safety. Hermocrates has furthermore sternly taught Agis that romance and love are the downfall of the intellectual, and that women in general are not to be trusted. Hermocrates also has a retiring spinster sister, Leontine (Fiona Shaw of Harry Potter), who conducts science experiments in her spare time. The princess, accompanied by her faithful handmaiden, Hermidas (Rachael Stirling, the daughter of actress Diana Rigg), disguises herself as a male philosophy student, Phocion, in order to infiltrate Hermocrates' household. She plans to both revenge herself on her enemies, and win the hand of Agis, uniting her kingdom. In this guise, she befriends the na´ve Agis and seduces the fragile Leontine. Hermocrates, however, immediately recognizes her true gender. Still, she manages to appeal to his gigantic ego, explaining that she's madly in love with him, and believes that only his genius can show her the wrongfulness of that state. As the threads of her plan chaotically and comically come together, the princess finds herself haunted by her own conscience.
Consensus: Not as charming as it could have been, Triumph of Love plays too broadly and amounts to little more than a trifle.