on August 7, 2001
This is the sort of film "they don't make any more" but really should. In Ladyhawke, horses just don't gallop or trot, they prance. The story, based upon a Medieval legend of a pair of cursed lovers-a knight who is a wolf by night, and a lady who is a hawk by day-is gorgeous to watch, not just for the fine acting, but for the wonderful Italian countryside. Rutger Hauer is a starwart as Etienne of Navarre, a man who can fight off battlions of the Bishop's Guards one moment, just ache so heartbreakingly for his lost love the next. Michelle Pfieffer, as Isabeau of Anjou, comports herself with touching vunerability, yet with a strength which sometimes takes ones breath away. And then, as now, hers is an etherial beauty for which men would go to war. Even Matthew Broderick, as the comedy relief thief Phillipe the Mouse, can bring a smile or a tear with equal ease. His charector oftentimes seems on the edge of madness as he slowly realizes what he had gotten himself into by escaping the dungeons of Aquiela. And the last scenes, with the battle in the Church, and the final confrontation with the evil bishop (and gentlemen, upon getting married, how would you like to see Michelle Pfieffer down the aisle?) is the big payoff. I wish this one had a sequal, if only so that I could see what happened next to these wonderful charectors.
on February 8, 2001
Two people desperately in love; a jealous character; sounds pretty basic for a love story, right? So why should Ladyhawke be any different? Ladyhawke is different because it's not just a love story; it's a love story mixed with an abundance of fantasy that enriches the plot to an unbelievably amazing point where it becomes unique forevermore. The complex plot consists of characters whose lives are intertwined through fate. The story is set in Aquila in the 13th century. The Bishop of Aquila, played by John Wood, is enchanted by the beautiful damsel, Isabeau, portrayed by Michelle Pfeifer whom you might remember from Batman. The catch is that Isabeau and Navar, the captain of the guard who is played by Rutger Hauer, are deeply in love. At first, the Bishop is unaware of their secret love affair, but when Navar and Isabeau proclaim their love to a monk by the name of Imperious, played by Leo McKern, everything is ruined, because Imperious accidentally reveals their love to the Bishop. Upon hearing this, the Bishop sets a curse on the two lovers. The curse is that by daylight, he shall be a man and she shall be a hawk and by nightfall, she shall be a woman and he shall be a wolf. This way they are never together as the same species. The other character involved is Philipe Gaston, who is sometimes referred to as "The Mouse". Gaston, played by Matthew Broderick, is a former criminal imprisoned in the inescapable Dungeons of Aquila. Unbeknownst to anyone, he manages to escape through the drain pipes. He becomes Navar's assistant throughout the rest of the movie. The movie is heightened even more by the choice of music. The music chosen had me tapping my foot and it made me feel a certain way about the upcoming events. The music occurred almost every time Navar set off to another part of his journey. It was a signal to me that the next scene, or few scenes, would be filled with suspense. In terms of scenery, most of the movie was set in the forests outside of the main city. There is also a lot of emphasis on the sun setting and rising, which is relevant to the terms of the curse. There are also several pictures of the hawk in front of the sun, often when it is rising or setting. Colors are also a large and important part of the movie. Generally, white represents purity, black represents death and the sun represents new life. All of these colors are symbolic of certain ideas. Ladyhawke uses reverse symbolism. Whereas white might symbolizes purity, it instead symbolizes evil, because the Bishop's robes are white. Another example is Navar's outfit. His outfit is black, which most often symbolizes evil, and yet, Navar is good. The reverse symbolism is another factor that enriches the story and makes it unique. If you haven't seen these movie, all I can say, is try to think of your situation as a curse, like in Ladyhawke. If you haven't seen this movie you have been under an evil curse. It would be for the best to break this curse by going to a nearby movie store, plucking this movie off of the shelf before anyone else, and racing home to watch it straight through.
on October 13, 2000
I have seen this movie probably 20 times. I never tire of it. While there has been criticism about the soundtrack, I can only say that your reaction to it will depend on your taste and how much a movie's soundtrack affects your feeling about the movie. While in some movies the soundtrack is very integral, I think in Ladyhawke the soundtrack is really not that important. I personally enjoy the music very much and I hadn't ever really thought about it--I think it fits an 80s movie and it's kind of interesting and different--however, I recently watched the movie with a friend who said the soundtrack was "cheesy." Whether you like the soundtrack or not, the story is so compelling that it is doubtful the music will keep you from enjoying the film. The story is based on an old legend about two lovers who have been cursed by an evil bishop so that the man, Navarre, is a wolf at night and the woman, Isabeau, is a hawk by day. The lovers' path crosses with that of a thief named Philippe "the mouse", played by Matthew Broderick. Romance, action, adventure, and a little comedy ensues to bring you to a dramatic and heartwarming ending. The story itself is at once beautiful, dark, sad and uplifting, and it's definitely the kind of movie that captivates you in a way that will stay with you for a long time, perhaps forever! If you're particularly empathetic you will probably be brought to tears at some of the more poignant scenes. This is an enduring classic that is sure to become one of your favorites if you choose to watch it.
This is probably, of all my favorite 80s fantasy movies, the best of them all. This movie has everything: adventure, romance, tragedy, comedy, true love, evil, and redemption. This is a masterpiece. A true masterpiece.
A young thief named Phillipe Gaston "the Mouse" escapes from Aquila, the fortress-like city belonging to its corrupt Bishop. He roams along the countryside, until he runs into some of the men sent out to hunt for him. But a mysterious man, Captain Etienne Navarre, appears and rescues him. Navarre is a mysterious, lonely man whose only companion is a lovely hawk he has with him always, and who needs Phillipe's help.
That night, as they stay in a farmer's barn, Phillipe sees a wolf and a beautiful young woman outside--but the woman vanishes during the day, as Navarre vanishes during the night. Phillipe soon discovers the tragic reason why the two cannot be together: they are cursed--he is a wolf at night and she a hawk by day. As animals, neither is sentient, so they don't remember anything that the other says or does. Their only glimpses of each other are as they transform at the end and beginning of days.
This could have been very depressing, but Matthew Broderick's unusualy humor makes it funny at time. As a seemingly honorless young thief, Phillipe talks to God frequently and, as he learns to help others, becomes a better person. The big-brother-little-brother relationship that seems to form between him and Navarre is particularly endearing.
I fell in love with Rutger Hauer in this movie, as the stalwart, tragic knight Etienne Navarre. Hauer's rugged good looks are only a small part of his appeal--extremely expressive eyes and his quiet voice add to it. He's the knight every women dreams of. The part where he watches the wounded Isabeau plummet to the ground and murmurs, "No...", the part where he tenderly holds one of her dresses, and the scene where he and Isabeau have a brief glimpse of each other as humans are his finest moments.
Michelle Pfeiffer, whom I had only seen in "Age of Innocence" before, is perfect as the lovely lady Isabeau. Though she plays an innocent and sweet person, Pfeiffer shows that Isabeau is also a strong and brave one. Together, she and Hauer are so convincing that you'll find yourself with tears in your eyes.
Leo McKern is a very rough jewel in this movie. Playing the tormented old priest, Imperius, who committed a mortal sin by betraying the lovers, he is alternately amusing, haunted, and grim. Though definitely not as handsome as Hauer or Broderick, he is no less convincing and just as good an actor.
There's no nudity or gratuitous violence in this movie, although there IS violence. There is a bit of swearing (nothing worse than "damn you to hell," meant literally) and references to a "dark side" bishop who is in love with Isabeau.
Although I do wonder: Evidently clothes vanish if Isabeau or Navarre transform while wearing them. Then how did Navarre manage to dress himself, scamper up a rock ledge, and fire his crossbow only seconds after sunset, if he woke up nude the day after? (Never mind me, I'm just nitpicking)
The characters are set in a land of lush fields, beautiful mountains, fortresses and ruined castles, forests and midnight thunderstorms. The costumes are beautiful and simple, from Imperius's rags to Navarre's black armor to the bishop's stark white robes.
Anyhow, this movie is a must see--it has something for everyone. You'll come away from it feeling a little richer in spirit.
on July 10, 2000
In this film Matthew Broderick playes "the mouse", a young thief who manages to escape from the dungeon and the clutches of the tyrannical Bishop of Aquilla. Broderick is saved from recapture by Rutger Hauer who plays "Navar", the former captain of the Bishop's guard. Michelle Pfeifer plays the hauntingly beautiful "Isabo" who loves Navar. Here's the catch -- the Bishop also desires Isabo. When the Bishop learned that Isabo was already in love with Navar, he fell from grace and made a pact with the evil one to place a curse on the lovers -- during the day Navar is a man, but Isabo is a hawk. At night Navar transforms into a large black wolf and Isabo reverts to her human form. They are together forever, eternally apart. That's the situation Broderick falls into.
This movie includes love and loyalty, deceit and repentance (on the part of the lovers' former priest), drama, a good sword fight or two, a touch of magical mystery, and, dare I say it? -- True love.
The soundtrack was developed by Alan Parsons (of the Alan Parsons Project). It therefore has a a somewhat modern sound to it, but Parsons works his musical magic to make it work with the medieval time frame. I think it's a wonderful touch to the movie.
Whether you enjoy medieval stories or not, this movie is well worth watching. It will tug at your heart strings and get you cheering for the unlikely heroes.
on April 29, 2000
I thought this movie was absolutely fantastic. I cannot say enough about the perfomances, the music, the beautiful scenery, etc. First of all, Michelle Pfieffer and Rutger Hauer are amazing, playing the doomed lovers who are cursed to walk the earth, "always together, eternally apart." He is the wolf by night and she is the hawk by day. Hauer is brilliant as the stoic and heroic Navarre, and Pfieffer is enchanting as the beautiful Isabeau. Broderick is superb as the clever and funny Philippe. The music is so Beautiful in this movie, one of the best soundtracks ever created. It adds to the movie, especially the one refrain where the hawk is flying over the lake. It is enough to bring tears to the eyes, it evokes so much passion. There are so many beautiful scenes, the ditch scene in particular. I also love the part where Philippe sees Isabeau after the "incident." That whole speech of "You must save this hawk he said" is so wonderful. Wow, truly fantastic. I encourage everyone to see this movie, please. There is no disappointment in this movie!
on July 27, 1999
The plot of this movie is intriguing and unusual; it is part medieval fantasy, action, and love story. Casting is wonderfully done with rugged, tall and handsome Denmark native Rutger Hauer as character Etienne Navar, ex-captain of the guard in a medieval French town ruled by an evil bishop. Navar is in love with Isabeau, played by the surrealistically beautiful Michelle Pfeiffer. The evil bishop (who also loves Isabeau), discovers the romance between Navar and Isabeau and curses the lovers, turning Navar into a black wolf by night and Isabeau into a hawk by day. Thus the lovers Isabeau and Navar travel together and are inseparable, but can never see each other in their human forms. Mathew Broderick plays a young thief who becomes reluctantly entangled in the story of the lovers and ultimately helps them to fulfill their destinies. This is a movie that appeals to a varied and vast audience.... a welcome addition to any movie lover's collection. It is appropriate for any age level; there is no inappropriate content or language.
on March 12, 2000
This is one of my favorite movies, and for several reasons. First of all, the acting is superb! Rutger Hauer is wonderful as the strong-willed, yet romantic Navarre. He does a spectacular job in all of his movies, but this is my favorite of his. Michelle Pfieffer, the beautiful Isabeau, is the other half of the doomed and cursed lovers who are forced to suffer as a result of the curse from the Bishop. The story is amazing, as is the MUSIC. The music is BEAUTIFUL, and my favorite part is where the hawk is flying across the water. Wow, I can never get over that scene. The music gives such depth, and conveys the emotions of the movie brilliantly. There are many scenes that touch me, but my fave is where the doomed lovers are in the ground and see each other for one brief second. I cannot get through that scene without crying. When you watch it, you will know what I mean. This is a movie for everyone, and one that will certainly not disappoint!
on December 8, 1998
Ladyhawke has been, for me, the ultimate love story since it was created nearly 14 years ago. I was 13 years old when it first hit the theatres and it continues to be my "hands-down, no competition" favorite movie. Some people are trekkies, some loved M.A.S.H., I love Ladyhawke! I purchased the soundtrack, bought the poster, wore out my first video cassette of the film from viewing it so often. But the culmination of my obsession (!) happened when I made a "pilgrimage" to Aquila, Italy and visited the cathedral and the castle. If you like Medieval history and enjoy the legends and myths that illustrate that time so magically, this movie is for you. The special effects probably aren't as special by today's standards, but it is part of the charm of the movie. Broderick has adorable wit, Pfeiffer has incredible beauty, and the leather clad Hauer on his stunning black horse is quite the "captain of the guard".