Shakespeare in Love is a film that I love to love. There are films which I like so much that my reviews are shorter than usually because a film review is half criticism and half pointing out the what to look for. If the film is as good as Shakespeare in Love, there’s not a lot to criticize, just good things to point out. Shakespeare in Love is a perfect mix of different genres: a romance, a comedy, and a drama. It all works out to make Shakespeare in Love one of 1998s best films.
There are two battling theatres in Shakespeare in Love; the Rose Theatre which has the fairly green screenwriter Shakespeare and the Curtain Theatre that has the ever-popular Marlowe (Rupert Everett).
Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) is working on Romeo and Juliet (which has the working title of “Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter”). The owner of the Rose Theatre, Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush), is badly in need of a play to bring his theatre out of the rubbles, to pay his debts, and to save his feet (you’ll learn early on in the film what I mean by the last part). Henslowe’s secret weapon is Shakespeare. Though at the time Shakespeare is nothing but a playwright with writer’s block. The owner of the Curtain Theatre thinks that Shakespeare is an up-and-coming playwright and wants to have Shakespeare writing plays for the Curtain Theatre. Shakespeare forgoes working for the Curtain Theatre after a startling discovery. He falls into a bit of depression after making the discovery and his writer’s block gets even worse – that is until he meets the daughter of a rich man, Viola De Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow). But, as stories go, it turns out that Viola is going to be married in two weeks. What is Shakespeare to do?
Is Shakespeare in Love based on a true story? It really doesn’t matter. The film is so entertaining that it could stand by itself. The humour in Shakespeare in Love is off-the-wall and screwball. There are many Shakespeare references, so many that I couldn’t catch them all. If you’ve read any Shakespeare, there will be some Shakespeare references in this film that will make you chuckle.
John Madden directs Shakespeare in Love. Kudos to Madden for putting together such a wonderful film based on the script by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard. The script is a magnificent piece of work that shows just how well a movie can be written. Kudos to Norman and Stoppard. As for performances in the film: They are all top-notch. Paltrow is effervescent onscreen. Fiennes is the perfect cast for Shakespeare. And Geoffrey Rush, whom I did not recognize until I saw the credits, is hilarious. The supporting players are all wonderful. Kudos to everyone in the film for their all around brilliant performances. Look for Ben Afflect in the film, his presence is amusing.
If I write anymore about Shakespeare in Love I risk drooling all over the review, this is a film that you can’t miss on the big screen. Don’t Miss Shakespeare in Love. And take a significant other with you to see this romantic and sweet film.