Sunday, 1 April 2012

Kiwi Film Review: Shakespeare In Love

IMDB: 7.3
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Roger Ebert: 4/4 Stars

Release Date: 25 December 1998

Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Geofrey Rush, Colin Firth, Ben Affleck, Judi Dench

Written By: Marc Norman, Tom Stoppard,
Directed By: John Madden

Described my IMDB as "Romantic comedy set in London in the late 16th century: Young playwright William Shakespeare struggles with his latest work "Romeo and Ethel the Pirate's Daughter". A great fan of Shakespeare's plays is young, wealthy Viola who is about to be married to the cold-hearted Lord Wessex, but constantly dreams of becoming an actress. Women were not allowed to act on stage at that time (female roles were played by men, too), but dressed up as a boy, Viola successfully auditions for the part of Romeo. Soon she and William are caught in a forbidden romance that provides rich inspiration for his play."

I'd like to start this review by saying how ashamed I am that I have not seen this film until tonight. It has definitely cemented itself into my favorites list. The romance, the tragedy, the passion. Its quite interesting to see William Shakespeare himself in a film. Its such a great story that you truely want it to be a true story, but alas, it is not. It would've given so much more life to the story and understanding of Shakespeare. Unfortunately we'll never truly know what the truth about the full life of Shakespeare(at least I think we won't, I'm sure some people know). I've always loved Shakespeare, who hasn't really, and I've always been curious about him. I guess because of all of those rumours that he was gay, but also because you really just want to know what kind of man could write the beautiful words that he wrote.

As for the film itself, so well done. A comedy and almost a tragedy itself, the list of actors is something to see. A brilliant cast, so the level of acting isn't exactly a surprise. The costumes were brilliant. I really need to look up a picture of Queen Elizabeth because in just about every film I've seen of her, she is portray pretty hideously, this film included. As much as I love Judi Dench, this isn't her most beautiful role, but she played it great. Before I go any further, I suppose I should mention the staggering 13 Academy Award nominations and 7 Academy Award wins including Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and Best Picture at the 1999 Oscars. Amazing! The writing was brilliant as well, I suppose they got a lot of support from Shakespeare's work itself, but still a great job. The love story between Viola(Paltrow) and Shakespeare(Fiennes) is so wonderful and sweet, but also so sad, and a perfect inspiration for Romeo & Juliet. Perfect for a story like this.

I give this film a 8.5/10. A solid film. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys a true love story. Unfortunately not enough males enjoy the passion of Shakespeare these days. Sad indeed.

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