Author Topic: Shakespeare in Love (1998)  (Read 2881 times)

Offline Antares

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Shakespeare in Love (1998)
« on: June 17, 2010, 01:09:48 AM »
Shakespeare in Love





Year: 1998
Film Studio: Universal Pictures, Miramax Films, Bedford Falls Productions
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Length: 124 Min.

Director
John Madden (1949)

Writing
Marc Norman (1941)...Written By
Tom Stoppard (1937)...Written By

Producer
Mark Cooper
Donna Gigliotti (1955)
Julie Goldstein
Marc Norman (1941)
David Parfitt (1958)
Bob Weinstein (1954)
Harvey Weinstein (1952)
Edward Zwick (1952)

Cinematographer
Richard Greatrex

Music
Stephen Warbeck (1953)...Composer

Stars
Joseph Fiennes (1970) as Will Shakespeare
Gwyneth Paltrow (1972) as Viola De Lesseps
Geoffrey Rush (1951) as Philip Henslowe
Tom Wilkinson (1948) as Hugh Fennyman
Imelda Staunton (1956) as Nurse
Colin Firth (1960) as Lord Wessex
Ben Affleck (1972) as Ned Alleyn
Judi Dench (1934) as Queen Elizabeth

Review
       I must admit that watching a play or a film adapted from a play by William Shakespeare is as painful to me as sitting in a dentist’s chair with the drill in my mouth. I’m not saying that the works of Shakespeare are a worthless waste of trees; on the contrary, he was one of the most creative writers in the history of literature. I only wish that he had incorporated a little geometric law into his method of writing dialogue, meaning that, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Now I know that this is how people spoke in Elizabethan England, but to enjoy Shakespeare’s work, the viewer must be willing to absorb an endless assault of adjectives and adverbs that meander their way around the basic meaning behind each sentence. After about an hour of this overabundant use of the King’s English, I find myself reaching for an industrial sized aspirin to alleviate the migraine headache that concentrating on these orations has created.

       When Miramax released Shakespeare in Love in 1997, I was not one who beat a path to my local cineplex in eager anticipation.  Fresh from viewing the 1996 debacle Romeo + Juliet starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes, I wanted no part of another film based on the Bard’s work. It would take much cajoling and arm twisting by my wife to get me to agree to view this film after its release on video. But in a surprising and delightful twist, I found the film to be quite inventive in its premise and a most enjoyable foray into the doomed duo of his most famous play.

       William ‘Will’ Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) is suffering from the bane of all authors; writers block. Being a lusty young man who needs carnal diversion to awaken the creativity that has become dormant, he goes in search of a willing wench to be his new muse. He has promised and has been paid for, a new play to be performed by two rival theatre owners. ‘Romeo and Ethel… the Pirates Daughter’ is slated to be a comedy that will put Shakespeare back into the hearts and minds of the London public. As auditions are undertaken, the search for the lead actor becomes quite fruitless as every person who performs is stilted and unmoving. As all hope is fading, an unknown ‘young man’ makes a notable impression on the author. In his haste to discover who this gifted performer is, he scares off the young prospect. After following the young man to the house of a local nobleman, he gazes upon Viola de Lessops (Gwyneth Paltrow) for the first time. In an instant, he is smitten and has found his new inspiration. Words and dialogue pour forth from his soul as a dam that has been breached, and the play is transformed from a comedy to a romantic drama, renamed Romeo and Juliet.  But alas, fate will not be kind to fortunes fool, as Viola is betrothed by her father to another and their love is torn asunder. In the end, though distance will come between them, Viola will forever be embodied in the soul of Juliet and their love will be eternally etched in prose.

       Was this film worthy of the Best Picture award at the 1999 Academy Awards? You’re damn right it was. The screenplay was incredibly original and the acting was first rate. It took Shakespeare’s most famous play and gave it a twist that probably opened up new windows for those unfamiliar or unappreciative of the Bard’s work. Many say that Saving Private Ryan should have won, but they are wrong. If you take away the first amazing and creatively shot 23 minutes of that film, you are left with a cliché ridden and overly long story that is only on par with any one of the episodes of the 60’s television show Combat!.


Review Criterion
5 Stars - The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
4 ½ Stars - Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
4 Stars - Historically important film, considered a classic.
3 ½ Stars - An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
3 Stars – A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
2 ½ Stars - Borderline viewable.
2 Stars – A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
1 ½ Stars – Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
1 Star – A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
½ Star - A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2010, 06:35:28 PM by Antares »

snowcat

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Re: Shakespeare in Love (1998)
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2010, 11:04:28 AM »
 :thumbup:

I really like this film, I should buy it so I can watch it again.

Offline Dragonfire

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Re: Shakespeare in Love (1998)
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2010, 10:14:30 PM »
I saw this one once when I rented it years ago...I think it was before I had a DVD player.

Offline Kathy

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Re: Shakespeare in Love (1998)
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2010, 10:20:21 PM »
I've had this DVD for years, I think its from my mom's collection (she gave me all her DVDs when she moved). I never remember owning it since I'm not the romantic movie kind of gal. But, Antares, you make this sound like I might like it. So, I've pulled it out, will dust it off and give it a chance.

Offline Antares

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Re: Shakespeare in Love (1998)
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2010, 10:22:24 PM »
I've had this DVD for years, I think its from my mom's collection (she gave me all her DVDs when she moved). I never remember owning it since I'm not the romantic movie kind of gal. But, Antares, you make this sound like I might like it. So, I've pulled it out, will dust it off and give it a chance.

You'll absolutely love it. The supporting cast help to make this great. Tom Wilkinson and Geoffrey Rush are fantastic.

Offline goodguy

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Re: Shakespeare in Love (1998)
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2010, 10:42:25 PM »
Fresh from viewing the 1996 debacle Romeo + Juliet starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes, I wanted no part of another film based on the Bard’s work.

Have you seen Zeffirelli's version? I discovered it only a couple of years ago and was blown away. For a comparative review of both versions, see http://www.dvdcollectorsonline.com/index.php/topic,904.0.html. Of course, I happen to love Shakespeare's language, which usually withstands even lesser staging or filming efforts.
Matthias

Offline Antares

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Re: Shakespeare in Love (1998)
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2010, 11:04:51 PM »
Fresh from viewing the 1996 debacle Romeo + Juliet starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes, I wanted no part of another film based on the Bard’s work.

Have you seen Zeffirelli's version? I discovered it only a couple of years ago and was blown away. For a comparative review of both versions, see http://www.dvdcollectorsonline.com/index.php/topic,904.0.html. Of course, I happen to love Shakespeare's language, which usually withstands even lesser staging or filming efforts.

Yes I've seen it and it definitely is the definitive version. It was Shakespeare in Love that got me to watch it again.

Offline Antares

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Re: Shakespeare in Love (1998)
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2010, 09:20:24 PM »
Kathy, did you ever get around to watching this?

Offline Antares

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Re: Shakespeare in Love (1998)
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2010, 12:41:06 AM »
Kathy, did you ever get around to watching this?

Well???????

hal9g

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Re: Shakespeare in Love (1998)
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2010, 03:39:58 AM »
I saw this many years ago and remember enjoying it quite thoroughly!

Not exactly the image I've always had of "The Bard", but lots of fun!

Offline Antares

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Re: Shakespeare in Love (1998)
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2010, 03:31:11 PM »
What made the film work for me was the way they interwove his personal life into the creation of Romeo & Juliet. It was inventive and well written, and had some absolutely hysterical moments with Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush), who for my money, should have won the Best Supporting Oscar that year.