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Shakespeare in Love (A Movie Review)

Updated: Jun 8, 2023


Starring Joseph Fiennes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rupert Everett, Geoffrey Rush, Ben Affleck, Colin Firth, Judi Dench, Martin Clunes, Tom Wilkinson, Simon Callow, Steve O'Donnell and Sandra Reinton.

Screenplay by Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman.

Directed by John Madden.

Distributed by Miramax Pictures. 122 minutes. Rated R.

Proof in these post-Farrelly times that a movie can be smart and still very funny – how's that for a high-concept?

A fanciful yarn about the young bard as a lazy, conniving pulp writer with his eye always on the next paycheck is funny – and probably much more accurate than the heroic figure we cut for him today. Joseph Fiennes (Ralph's younger brother) cuts a striking pose as a writer who is hounded by writer's block until he meets the beautiful woman of his dreams (Gwyneth Paltrow).

The film feels completely contemporary, and yet the period detail is uncanny at the same time (except, I rather doubt that Shakespeare wore a leather jacket that looks like it is straight out of a designer catalogue.) This film celebrates the joy of the theatre and can cause a new respect and curiosity towards Shakespeare, even in the people who couldn't be bothered with Cliff Notes. (12/98)

Sabrina Stevens

Copyright ©1998 All rights reserved. Posted: December 11, 1998.


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