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Shakespeare in Love (1999)

Art House & International and Comedy movie directed by John Madden

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If Only....

  • Sep 1, 2000
Wouldn't be terrific of you could go back in time to Elzabethan England and explore London then? Better yet, why not tag along with Will Shakspeare as he struggles to overcome writer's block, get a new play performed, and win the hand (having captured the heart) of the woman he loves? Well, in a sense you can. Viewing this film will at least give you a feel for (and countless compelling images of) what it was probably like in young Shakespeare's London. Thus far, I have seen this film more than a dozen times and enjoy it more each time I see it again. Paltrow, Fiennes, and Rush carry most of the film but be alert to brief but memorable appearances by Dench, Everett, Firth, and Holm. If you like this film as much as I do, check out The Lion in Winter, Becket, A Man for All Seasons, the first few minutes of Olivier's film of Henry V, and Elizabeth.

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Robert Morris ()
Ranked #74
Professionally, I am an independent management consultant who specializes in accelerated executive development and breakthrough high-impact organizational performance. I also review mostly business books … more
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One of the most endearing and intelligent romantic comedies of the '90s, the Oscar-winningShakespeare in Loveis filled with such good will, sunny romance, snappy one-liners, and devilish cleverness that it's absolutely irresistible. With tongue placed firmly in cheek, at its outset the film tracks young Will Shakespeare's overwrought battle with writer's block and the efforts of theater owner Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush, in rare form) to stage Will's latest comedy,Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter. Jokey comedy, though, soon takes a backseat to ravishing romance when the beautiful Viola De Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow) disguises herself as a young man to wangle herself an audition in the all-male cast, and wins both the part of Romeo and, after much misunderstanding, the playwright's heart. Soon enough, Will's pirate comedy becomes the beautiful, tragicRomeo and Juliet, reflecting the agony and ecstasy of Will and Viola's romance--he's married and she's set to marry the slimy Lord Wessex (Colin Firth) in the near future.

The way that Oscar-winning screenwriters Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard enfold their story within the parameters of Romeo and Juliet (and even Twelfth Night) is nothing short of brilliant--it would take a Shakespearean scholar to dissect the innumerable parallels, oft-quoted lines, plot developments, and thematic borrowings. And most amazingly, Norman and Stoppard haven't forgotten to entertain their audience in addition to riding a Shakespearean roller ...

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Director: John Madden
Genre: Foreign, Comedy
Screen Writer: Marc Norman, Tom Stoppard
Runtime: 123 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Video
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"If Only...."
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