Lola Montès ★★★★★

The thing that struck me the most (besides the production design, choreography, and cinematography, obviously) about Lola Montès was her overall low-key disposition. Even as everyone whispers and gossips about her salacious activities and even with a circus investing all of their resources and manpower into retelling and sensationalizing her life and love affairs, she remains composed and at peace with herself due to the fact that she simply, as she says, does what she wants to do. She isn't seeking scandal nor is she reveling in it, she is simply doing what she wants to do, genuinely and wholeheartedly. The only time she loses herself and her composure is when she's not afforded the opportunity to prove herself and her dancing skills. Even as they frame her as a voracious man-eater sleeping her way to more and more power and influence, we're privy to the real Lola Montès - a woman simply living and loving, embracing joy. She never actively seduces any of these men, they become infatuated with her on their own while she falls in love with them until the circumstances change. Although the ending of Lola, on display in a cage, may be heartbreaking at first, with her freedom restricted, one must keep in mind that, again, Lola is doing what she wants to do and needn't pity nor sympathy.

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