In 16th century Venice, Veronica Franco (Catherine McCormack0 finds herself unable to marry the man she loves due to her lowly social position and is encouraged by her mother to become a courtesan. Using her feminine wiles, she excels in this role and finds herself in the thick of international politics, as well as recriminations stemming from the onset of the Black Death.

A soggingly unconvincing romance.

Beautiful Veronica Franco (Catherine McCormack) is in love with the dashing Marco Venier (Rufus Sewell) but he is, unfortunately for her, above her station. They can be lovers, he tells her, but they can never marry. Veronica rejects this option and then learns the truth about her family's parlous financial position. Her mother (Jacqueline Bisset) will never be able to afford a dowry for her, and worse...

A Destiny Of Her Own, which was released in American under the title Dangerous Beauty, is handsomely produced Mills and Boon. The settings, a digitally enhanced Venice, and costumes are sumptuous, but the narrative and the dialogue, by Jeannine Dominy, are strictly bottom drawer and the direction, by Marshall Herskovitz, truly uninspired. The misadventures of the voluptuous heroine are mildly diverting for a while, but interest flags as the film takes some unconvincing dramatic turns in the latter stages. As far as the actors are concerned, neither Catherine McCormack nor Rufus Sewell is able to make much of stereotyped characters, and even the usually excellent Oliver Platt is weak in a pivotal role. Jacqueline Bisset comes off best as the heroine's worldly-wise mother, but even she has to compete with a truly appalling music score which helps sink this soggily unconvincing romance.

Margaret's Comment
: There is a lush melodramatic silliness to this film that on a superficial level is quite enjoyable, but to pretend that it reaches any great heights would be misleading. The film wants audiences to feel good about this story of a 16th century courtesan, so the downside of her life – she's a prostitute – is glossed over. But at the same time it makes the point that women had very few options in life apart from marriage, and a good marriage could only be achieved through money and position. By becoming a courtesan Veronica Franco achieves life on her own terms. Catherine McCormack is beautiful and brings a nice spirit to her portrayal of Veronica, Rufus Sewell fits into the role of romantic hero well and Venice looks beautiful. Fred Ward, however, looks uncomfortable.

No masterpiece, although you feel director Marshall Herskovitz has aspirations in that direction, A Destiny of Her Own, which apparently has had a number of titles over its production – Dangerous Beauty, Venice and Indiscretion – is a fun romp with a completely ludicrous ending.