Welcome! Log in or Register

Shakespeare In Love (DVD)

  • image
£1.64 Best Offer by: amazon.co.uk marketplace See more offers
32 Reviews

Genre: Romance / Theatrical Release: 1999 / Director: John Madden / Actors: Geoffrey Rush, Joseph Fiennes ... / DVD released 02 February, 2004 at Universal Pictures UK / Features of the DVD: Dubbed, PAL, Widescreen

  • Sort by:

    * Prices may differ from that shown

    More Offers
  • Write a review >
    How do you rate the product overall? Rate it out of five by clicking on one of the hearts.
    What are the advantages and disadvantages? Use up to 10 bullet points.
    Write your reviews in your own words. 250 to 500 words
    Number of words:
    Write a concise and readable conclusion. The conclusion is also the title of the review.
    Number of words:
    Write your email adress here Write your email adress

    Your dooyooMiles Miles

    32 Reviews
    Sort by:
    • More +
      21.02.2014 12:19
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      Disadvantages

      A good depiction of Shakespeare's life, with plenty of romance, and the occasional laugh.

      SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE (romantic-comedy-drama)
      Directed by John Madden
      Starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush, Judi Dench, Colin Firth, Ben Affleck
      Running Time: 137 minutes

      'Shakespeare in Love' tells the story of a young, struggling and upcoming Will Shakespeare. He meets, in true twelfth-night style, Lady Viola, aka Thomas Kent, and is further inspired to start writing the greatest love story ever told, Romeo and Juliet.

      REVIEW
      I bought the DVD of Shakespeare in Love, hoping for a real feel-good comedy. It didn't disappoint as such, however if you are looking for something to laugh-out-loud at, this probably isn't the best choice. It was funny, yes, but the humour was subtle and old-fashioned. This didn't, however, detract from the film as a whole, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
      The performances were great, with Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes in the lead roles - Paltrow, a newcomer at the time, captured the crystal clear emotions of Lady Viola at all times, and all her scenes were great. Fiennes struggled a little more, though his role didn't seem to be written as well as Paltrow's. Judi Dench's character was on for barely ten minutes - practically a cameo - but her performance as Queen Elizabeth I was one of her best, and every moment she had on screen was full of enchantment and wit.
      I don't often comment on the score in movies, but this one is one of the best I've listened too, as it suited itself so well to what was happening on screen.
      The film itself is full of colour, as well as subtle humour - very light-hearted, but with a deeper story underneath.
      I definitely recommend this - don't be put off by the word 'Shakespeare' in the title - this film is a far cry from dull and medieval. It's rated 15, probably for its occasional, brief nude scenes, but its hardly enough to put anyone off from watching it with kids - a great film, and worthy winner of Best Picture at the Oscars (though Saving Private Ryan deserved almost as much).

      Comments

      Login or register to add comments
    • More +
      18.02.2014 23:40

      Advantages

      Disadvantages

      all round entertainment!

      I first came across this certain movie when I was studying Shakespeare at school a few years back and because I absolutely love Shakespeare's work! I love everything about him and have done since watching twelfth night and Romeo and Juliet. If you're a fan of either or simply just any of his plays you will of course love this movie!
      It's like a mixture of twelfth night and Romeo and Juliet which of course is why I mainly like it but also because Shakespeare is portrayed by a very handsome actor named Joseph Fiennes. The story is very well written and portrays Shakespeare like he is actually all of his plays, which makes the movie very interesting.

      ~~~MINI PLOT~~~
      It's 1953, London and William Shakespeare is a sometime actor in the Lord Chamberlains men and a play writer for Phillip Henslowe whom is the owner of The Rose Theatre.
      Shakespeare is working on a new play of which is supposed to be a comedy called Romeo and Ethel, the Pirates Daughter (sounds familiar a bit...) unfortunately Shakespeare is suffering writers block and has barely written anything but with everyone questioning him he starts to audition actors and use anything that pops into his head. Whilst auditions are in place Shakespeare hasn't found much luck with what he's been given until he comes across a young man who goes under the name of "Thomas Kent". Little does he know that Thomas Kent is actually Viola de Lesseps whom is the daughter of a wealthy merchant. Viola has actually seen some of Shakespeare's plays at court and had fell in love with acting, but because she is female she is unable to be on the stage as the policy stands as male actors only even for the female roles during a play. So viola decided on running away from home every moment she can to disguise herself as "Thomas Kent"
      Shakespeare later after spending a lot of time with Thomas Kent is struck speechless and falls in love with who he thinks is Thomas Kent....
      ~~~END OF PLOT~~~

      ~~CAST LIST~~
      Joesph Fiennes = William Shakepeare
      Geoffrey Rush = Phillip Henslowe
      Simon Calow = Tilney
      Judi Dench = Queen Elizabeth
      Gwyneth Paltrow = Thomas Kent/Viola
      Colin Firth = Lord Wessex
      Mark Williams = Wabash
      Ben Affleck = Ned Alleyn
      And many many more...


      ~~~ADDITIONAL INFORMATION~~~
      Directed By: John Madden
      Written By: Marc Norman, Tom Stoppard
      Age Rating: R
      Cinema Release: Jan 29 1999
      US Box Office: $289M
      Running Time: 2hr. 2 min
      Genre: Romance

      Comments

      Login or register to add comments
    • More +
      27.03.2011 18:14
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      Disadvantages

      Bit long but still worth watching this historical film

      I totally love romeo and Juliet so much and have read a few of Shakespeare 's plays. I was having a browse on amazon and spotted this, I have to say I'm confused how I haven't noticed it before when it has such A-list stars in and has won 9 academy awards! I thought that I would give it a go because it seemed like it would be quite similar to Romeo and Juliet and I didn't really know much about Shakespeare himself so I thought that that might be interesting.
      Shakespeare in love is, as the title suggests about Shakespeare falling in love. Shakespeare is a poor playwright who is struggling to make it, he writes for The Rose Theatre but he needs to find a muse after he sees his love cheating on him. Burning his comedy he sets to work on a tragedy entitled Romeo and Juliet but is plagued by writers block. Continuing ahead anyway, he holds auditions for the part of Romeo and casts Thomas Kent in the role. He then discovers Thomas's true identity as a woman, Viola, who he begins to fall in love with. With a new muse he writes much more quickly and has a great play on his hands. Everything seems to be fine, but Viola is engaged to be married in a few weeks, and whats more women aren't allowed in the theatre so they're on risky ground with the law!
      I'm not really entirely sure what I thought of this film if I'm honest, it had strengths and it had weaknesses. Its not like I hated it but I didn't particularly love it either! I have to say that one of the major weaknesses would have been the running time, 2 hours doesn't seem like a majorly long time for a film but for this one it really was - some parts seemed to really drag on and I felt like some of it could have quite easily been omitted. However I did still get quite into it, enjoying the authenticicity of the historical setting and costumes and would probably still recommend it.

      Comments

      Login or register to add comments
    • More +
      21.05.2010 19:01
      Very helpful
      (Rating)
      1 Comment

      Advantages

      Disadvantages

      -

      Will Shakespeare has writers block .Not a good thing, as his patron is in massive debt, and has already promised his creditors a stake in the play . Under pressure to make his latest work 'Romeo and Ethel the Pirates Daughter' a success , he starts rehearsals for the play before it's even written completely , and amongst the cast is actor Thomas Kent.

      But Thomas Kent is no ordinary actor, but a young noble woman Lady Viola in disguise, attempting to live her dream of performing on stage ( a career not suited for women in those days) before being made to marry Lord Wessex. As Violas true identity becomes clear, a romance develops between her and Will, but unfortunately the scandal of having a woman on stage, even disguised as a man, threatens the play, and may stop it from going ahead. Will Will and Viola be happy in love, or will she marry against her will ? Will the play go ahead ?

      The film has a great star studded cast - Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow play Will and Viola, with Judi Dench giving an excellent imperious performance as Queen Elizabeth. Colin Firth plays the thrusting Lord Wessex, and a whole variety of stars including Martin Clunes, Ben Affleck, Imelda Staunton and Rupert Everett all add their talent to the pool . The chemistry between Paltrow and Fiennes is remarkable, and very believable, and Paltrow in fact does very well with the two characters she has to play, making an almost convincing young lad .

      The costumes and set designs are sumptious, with some lovely stately homes and palaces being borrowed for filming . The costumes feature plenty of heaving bosoms and codpieces, and some of the costumes in the theatre scenes were quite amusing.

      I really enjoy this movie - while at heart being a love story, it has some brilliant comedy moments , although the majority of them are rather subtle, such as the boatman making references to the fact that he had 'that Kit Marlowe in the back of my boat once' which makes me think of London taxi drivers and their love of naming famous people that have been in their cabs . There are also plenty of subtle nods in the film to various plays of Shakespeare, and even to the fact that he's believed not to be the author of some of his works . Though the film is easy to watch as simply a love story, it's these little intelligent references that really make it enjoyable for me . It's a funny romantic film that moves at a good pace, and makes a great lazy evening watch .

      5 stars

      (Please note that since I own this on VHS, I'm not able to comment on DVD features )

      Comments

      Login or register to add comments
      • More +
        31.08.2009 13:51
        Very helpful
        (Rating)
        5 Comments

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        When Shakespeare meets Viola...

        I had to watch this movie for a university assignment and I kept putting it off, thinking that it would be just another boring Shakespearean movie. I simply adore William Shakespeare and it really pains me to see awful amateur movies being made of his life and works- but when I finally watched this film, I was really stunned and bowled over by the amazing directional techniques and vivid imagination in Shakespeare in Love. Joseph Fiennes is amazing as Shakespeare and I believe that he got the looks and talent to represent the legendary poet on screen. The cast was refreshing and at ease with their roles and the storyline was itself amazingly wonderful, leaving a lot to the imagination of the audience. Most of all, Shakespeare in love presents a delightful blend of the actual works of William Shakespeare, a couple of real-life assumption about the author and a lot of wonderfully crafted fictional elements.


        The plot is about William Shakespeare who is having a writer's block at a very crucial moment: If he does not come up with an original idea soon, the company will have no choice but to close down. He manages to come up with a title- Romeo and Juliet- and starts casting auditions. Among the very dull and amateurish performances, Shakespeare is suddenly stunned by the amazing talent of a young boy named Thomas Kent and selects him to play the part of Romeo. There is just a slight hitch: Thomas Kent is really a rich, beautiful woman named Viola de Lesseps, whose father has arranged her engagement to Lord Wessex.


        This movie really has everything that I look for in films- great acting, lots of emotions, in-depth line delivery and amazing facial expressions. Like I said before, I was extremely impressed by the performance of Joseph Fiennes as William Shakespeare. He did represent the perfect lower-middle class British gentleman with deep emotions and love for writing. I was usually not overly fond of Gwyneth Paltrow but I have to admit that she was also quite excellent in the film. I was personally touched by the on-screen chemistry between the two of them: There are a few scenes where the chemistry seems forced and "acted" but overall, it was very touching to see the two of them together; the eye play and body language were in perfect harmony to the other.


        My favorite element in this movie undoubtedly remains the amazing dialogues and lines that are delivered all throughout. While many may not like the intensity and somewhat "heaviness" of the language, I must say that I was moved to tears by a couple of these lines. They flew well and were in constant touch with the plot and spirit behind Shakespeare in Love up till the end. I also admired these lines because I think that they are a perfect representation of Elizabethan age. As expected, the dialogues had a poetic melodious quality to them, and that only serve to add up to the poignant sense of romance and dreamy atmosphere of the film.


        However, I have to say that the character and actor that most impressed me in Shakespeare in Love was undoubtedly Judi Dench, who played Queen Elizabeth. I was in awe in front of her performance. She did not seem to be acting at all- I have never, ever seen an actor/actress so much as ease with a role before. I think that Judi Dench performed exactly as historical suggestions of what Queen Elizabeth1 used to be- intimidating, strong, and independent but with a fine mind for ruling. Dench's mere presence in a room was more than enough to intimidate the audience; especially considering certain circumstances in the film.


        DVD Extras include:
        * Commentary Track with John Madden, Director
        * Commentary Track with Producers, Screenwriters, Actors and Cinematographers
        * Featurette: Shakespeare in Love and On Film
        * Featurette- Accademy Award Winning Costume
        * Deleted Scenes
        * Trailer


        I just adored the Extras! I have to say that aside from the second commentary track, my favorite element in the DVD Bonus features is the one about the costume. I particularly loved some of the dresses that Paltrow wore as Viola and it was great knowing about the costumes.


        For William Shakespeare fans like me: Shakespearean thematic features are extremely predominant in the movie and I would personally recommend this film to everyone who loves Shakespeare and/or romantic movies. Shakespeare in Love is according to me, one of the best cinematographic blends of historical elements and romantic fiction.


        Thanks for reading!

        Comments

        Login or register to add comments
        • More +
          02.08.2009 13:54
          Very helpful
          (Rating)

          Advantages

          Disadvantages

          Witness the master writer's love story.

          Directed by John Madden, Shakespeare in Love ended up winning 7 oscars! A film about Shakespeare himself, in the middle of writing a new play, when he mets the love of his life, who inspires and helps him stage a new play at a very crucial time of his career.

          A period/romantic film needs a certain charm to work with audiences, and this film is full of it. The drama unfolds at a decent pace and the british sarcasm keeps the proceedings going. There's outstanding chemistry here between the lead pair and somehow the background score and the poetic dialogues make it a magical experience for the viewers. The writers does a fantastic job by bringing in different characters, putting in the different situations involving theater and personal life. The fact that the female protagonist pretends to be a male so that she can act in the play is a masterstroke and takes the love story forward.

          Gwaneth Paltrow is outstanding, this is certainly one of the strongest female performances you will come accross and words aren't enough to do justice to her performance. The climax is also very subtle, leaving the vieweres in tears.This is a film you don't want to miss!

          Comments

          Login or register to add comments
        • More +
          25.07.2009 00:35
          Very helpful
          (Rating)

          Advantages

          Disadvantages

          So good you can even get your other half to watch it

          I'm not a huge fan of romantic comedies usually, but I can honestly say I absolutely love this film. Not a single bit of acting is hammy (unless it's supposed to be) and everyone puts in a excellent performance. In particular I think Judi Dench is brilliant as Queen Elizabeth I. And Colin Firth is surprisingly good as the caddish Lord Wessex.

          The film is funny, it's sad, it's poignant. The chemistry between the two leads is just right. It even has a dog. Though Romeo and Juliet is obviously the main ficus of this film, I particularly like all the little nods to Shakespeare's other plays; for example the Hamlet-esque pointing Will does in church.

          It even has an all star cast. Honestly, the cast reads like a check list of the cream of British acting talent.

          I've just made my boyfriend watch and even HE said it was a good film. It's definitely a tad raunchy for the kids (it does have a 15 rating), but there's something for everyone from that age upwards.

          Comments

          Login or register to add comments
        • More +
          19.07.2009 16:57
          Very helpful
          (Rating)
          8 Comments

          Advantages

          Disadvantages

          The writing of Romeo and Juliet (not historically accurate but who cares?)

          Another Sunday on my own has rolled around (husband on a stag do in the Peak District) so it's time for another girly film review. Sorry men! I am realising that my taste in film may be coming across as a little shallow, but in 1998 everyone fell in love with "Shakespeare in Love" which went home from the Oscars with 7 awards including Best Picture. A decade later, does it still hold up?

          THE PREMISE

          Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) has written a couple of plays, but is no match for the brilliance of the playwright of the day, Christopher Marlowe (Rupert Everett) and still a player for hire who dreams of greater things. Something of a womaniser, Shakespeare has writer's block when it comes to his latest work, "Romeo and Ethel the Pirate's Daughter" because he cannot find his muse.

          Meanwhile the beautiful and wealthy Viola De Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow) is hopelessly in love with poetry and plays, particularly those of William Shakespeare. Having been promised in marriage in a business deal between her title hungry father (Nicholas Le Prevost) and the impoverished Lord Wessex (Colin Firth) Viola decides to embark on one last adventure.... performing in Shakespeare's production disguised as a man, Thomas Kent. The romance of Will and Viola inspires the writing of Shakespeare's greatest love story, and poor Ethel is lost to the world to the world of literature forever.

          SO SHOULD I SEE IT?

          "Shakespeare In Love" is a beautiful period piece by any standards. Directed by John Madden, "Shakespeare In Love" balances the period costumes, locations and crowds with a love story that works in any time period. The costumes really are gorgeous, particularly Viola's gowns. The poor extras must have been rolled in mud to represent the folk who lived and worked along the Thames. Reconstructions of the theatres of the time as well as the court of Elizabeth I were beautifully executed and before you know you are immersed in Elizabethan England. I have a history background but choose not to employ it to nit pick if there are one or two details that may be slightly historically inaccurate. On a whole I was impressed. The first time I saw the film I was sixth form age and went to the cinema where I fell in love.

          Madden obviously had a clear, strong vision and handled his star-studded cast brilliantly. In a very large ensemble cast of big personalities the leads had to stand out and win us over quickly. Gwyneth Paltrow is vibrant and full of life in this film in a way that I'm not sure we've seen since. I'm not the biggest Paltrow fan in the world and I really do question that Best Actress Oscar as it doesn't seem like the most challenging role, but she immersed herself in it fully. Fiennes is sexy and romantic in this film. Again, as a Canadian teenager I think this film was the first time I encountered this member of the Fiennes family and fell in love with him.

          "Shakespeare In Love" had a slew of veteran actors turning relatively small roles into scene stealer. Judy Dench plays the iconic but aging queen with strength and humour, winning the Best Supporting Actress award that year. I have to admit that the size of the role barely seemed to merit such an award but the Academy has always loved Dame Judy and I can't blame them. Geoffrey Rush is delightful as one of the pioneering theatre owners and patrons of the arts, Philip Henslowe, while Martin Clunes is equally as wonderful as his competitor, Richard Burbage. Tom Wilkinson really does steal almost every scene he's in as the money lender, Hugh Fennyman. It is fun to see Colin Firth as an unattractive marriage partner considering his usual roles and Ben Affleck manages to convince me to like him (and I am not generally a fan!) as the leading man of the day, Ned Alleyn.

          BONUS FEATURES

          The dvd comes with a few Bonus Features including the theatrical trailers for the film and a documentary on the love that the film industry has for Shakespeare and "Romeo and Juliet" in general. It's actually quite a lovely and interesting documentary.

          Looking back "Shakespeare In Love" was a product of a time when Hollywood was enamoured of huge, period romances of love in the face of adversity. "Titanic" had been the big winner at the Oscars the year before and "Shakespeare In Love" was playing to the same audience. However, this film stands the test of time better than "Titanic" (and didn't have a theme song by Celine Dion which has got to be a good thing). At only 123 min it's also a much more manageable length! It is a classic romance that will continue to delight.

          Comments

          Login or register to add comments
          • More +
            20.05.2009 12:14
            1 Comment

            Advantages

            Disadvantages

            Entertaining interpretation of Shakespeare

            Sorry if I've stolen the headline from someone - I think its a tag line from the posters but it sprang to mind immediately so I could be wrong.
            The plot here is simple enough. Shakespeare is a youngish writer/actor struggling to make his mark in the London playhouses. He is currently working on 'Romeo and Ethel the Pirates Daughter' but is struggling with writers block. Added to this he is in debt to a less than delightful money lender. The playhouses and material they host are not well respected among the higher classes, being considered to be catering for the lowest common denominator. Shakespeare falls in love and the film follows him as his love life inspires his writing and Romeo and Ethel becomes Romeo and Juliet.
            We have a huge cast of stars here, from A-list Hollywood to stars from comedy series like Martin Clunes. All the characters are well played with the lesser known actors getting many of the most interesting parts. While the love story which unfolds inspires Romeo and Juliet, and of course we all know that story, the plot of the film is not so obvious that we can extrapolate one from the other. The dialogue is good, working many of the immediately recognizable lines from Romeo and Juliet into the ordinary life of Shakespeare so you can play spot the inspiration.
            It's a pleasant comedy and if you squint you could probably persuade yourself is also culture. My biggest gripe with it would have to be that although it is set in Shakespearian times (well duh!) some of the language is a little too modern. Of course I don't expect it to be archaic but at one point a character basically says "that's my name, don't wear it out". And that just isn't Shakespeare. Still its better than "Bring me my longsword" = machine gun. Isn' t that right Baz?

            Comments

            Login or register to add comments
            • More +
              19.01.2009 14:45
              Very helpful
              (Rating)
              2 Comments

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              This is a great Rom Com with great performances.

              This romantic comedy came to the big screen in 1998 and with it's great cast like Gwyneth Paltrow, Judi Dench , Joseph Fiemmes, Ben Affleck and Colin Firth to name a few it was a great success. In fact it won seven Oscars.
              It tells the story of William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) or Will as he is known by friends and its set in the 16th century as he is struggling with writers block and has only come up with a name for a play "Romeo and Ethel the pirates daughter" which doesn't have the nicest ring to it. He is also struggling for money and after coming to an arrangement with a local theatre he begins casting for the part of Romeo. Viola de Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow) a wealthy young woman who is soon to be engaged then steps up for the part but dressed as a man, as woman were not allowed to act. She has always dreamed of acting and her abilities impress the cast as well as Will. Once Will discovers her identity, they begin an affair, which inspires him to write the play Romeo and Juliet.
              However there romance is not without problems and as it becomes known that a woman is acting in the theatre it is shut down. Also Lord Wessex's (Colin Firth) hold over Viola tightens and she is forced to marry him. Suddenly a rival theatre offers their stage for the play and Viola sneaks away to see it. Circumstances then call for an understudy to take the part of Juliet and viola takes to the stage opposite Will playing Romeo. There chemistry is clear to see by all watching and the play is a great success however Queen Elizabeth I (Judi Dench) may have something to say about the whole affair!
              This is a great romantic comedy with wonderful chemistry between the two leads. The comedy also flows very naturally but you still feel the serious nature of the time they are living in.
              For me I love watching this movie but it doesn't have the usual Hollywood ending that I had hoped for but it Is still very good.

              Comments

              Login or register to add comments
              • More +
                02.10.2008 16:33
                Very helpful
                (Rating)

                Advantages

                Disadvantages

                A great film for anyone who loves the work of shakespeare and historical romance stories!

                Shakespeare in love is an absolutely great film. For anyone who ever wondered what it would have been like to live in the time of shakespeare or to meet him then this is the film for you. Of course this is a fictional piece of work but that hardly matters whilst you are watching the film. You can just imagine Shakespeare being the kind of person he is portrayed to be within the film and the setting and location for the film is amazing. It is as if you are really there living the life that he would have lived.

                The film follows Shakespeare as he trys desperately to write a new play. It takes you on a journey of where he gets his ideas from and the lines from his various plays crop up all through the film. After struggling for some time to write his latest play Shakespeare finds himself falling in love with a young woman and he parallels this relationship in the play he is writing at the time (Romeo and Juliet).

                The film is an amazing piece of romance which has the odd bit of humour spotted throughout and anyone who loves historical drama and the work of shakespeare will love this new slant on his life.

                Certificate : 15
                Running time : 1hr 59mins

                Comments

                Login or register to add comments
              • More +
                28.08.2008 17:31
                Very helpful
                (Rating)

                Advantages

                Disadvantages

                Worth watching - a really lovely film.

                A muse is what every decent playwright needs in order to complete a suitable play; it also happens to be the certain aspect in which young Will Shakespeare (Joesph Fiennes) is lacking. Working on his comedy "Romeo and Ethel the Pirate's Daughter", he is getting nowhere, and desparately seeks to find a woman that can restore the tower of his creativity that had been knocked over. Thankfully, she appears to him in the form of Lady Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow), a beautiful woman betrothed to the arrogant and somewhat insufferable Lord Wessex (Colin Firth) at the command of Queen Elizabeth (Judy Dench). Well, the path of true love never did run smooth.
                "Shakespeare in Love" is an absolutely lovely romantic comedy released in 1999 and directed by John Madden, revealing the witty, sexy story behind what most people would call the greatest tale of them all, Romeo and Juliet.
                Outstanding skills of acting are displayed by all members of the cast, making this both a believable and truly enjoyable film;
                I would recommend this to those who like romantic comedies with a twist - this certainly isn't one of the trashy kind!
                Worth watching for all.

                Comments

                Login or register to add comments
              • More +
                14.04.2008 14:18
                Very helpful
                (Rating)

                Advantages

                Disadvantages

                Shakespeare in Love (1998)

                Shakespear In Love is the 1998 film directed by John Madden, and with an all star cast bringing a fictional take on the creation of Shakespeare's epic Romeo and Juliet.

                The Plot

                Will Shakespeare is an up and coming writer who is having a mind block. He needs a muse to help him finish his tale, entitled 'Romeo and Ethel the Pirate's Daughter'. He finds one in the form of Lady Viola, but unfortunately Queen Victoria has decided that Violoa is to be married to Lord Wessex, an agonisingly annoying noble. Viola wants nothing more than to act on stage, and will go to any lengths to do so, even though only men are cast, inlcudiong the women's roles.

                The Cast and Performances

                The cast here is magnificent. Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow play Will and Viola, with Colin Firth giving a stellar performance as the uptight Lord Wessex. Judi Dench is outstanding as Queen Victoria. The support cast is full of stars, with Ben Affleck, Tom Wilkinson, Rupert Everett, Geoffrey Rush, and Martin Clunes among others lending their considerable acting talents to the film.

                My Opinion

                Historical films are not really my thing, especially when they concentrate more on acting and dialogue than action. However, this film was a marvel in my mind. The subtleties of the film stand out, particularly with the inclusion of characters and scenarios from many of Shakespeare's work included in this one film. It lends a believable aspect on much of the bard's scripts, and does so with a very tongue in cheek comedic effort from all involved. The romance side of the tale is naturally the focal point, but is so much more than that in so many ways. The little intricacies show this to be a very complicated film made very easy to watch, and I for one thought it outstanding.

                Conclusion

                Brilliant film.

                I rate this film at 5 stars out of 5.

                The DVD is available from amazon.co.uk for £4.98.

                This review may also be posted on ciao.co.uk.

                Thanks for reading.

                Comments

                Login or register to add comments
              • More +
                24.11.2007 22:34
                Very helpful
                (Rating)
                5 Comments

                Advantages

                Disadvantages

                A classic comedy that tries not to baffle with Shakesperian langauge

                Having a few recent conversations it strikes me that 1998's Shakespeare In Love is an incredibly misunderstood movie, furthermore those that are in the category "misunderstood" have some serious wrong views of exactly what Shakespeare In Love is about, many believe it is a straight laced romance. From first viewing 8 years ago it has become one of my favourite movies; a great romance, an epic tale, a intriguing romance, and last but not least a hysterical sense of humour.
                The owner of the Rose theatre Henslow (Geoffrey Rush) is in severe dire straits financially, owing money to everyone it seems. But Fennyyman (Tom Wilkinson) for whom he is most in debt too is by far the most eager to get his money from Henslow. To avoid a terrible torture Henslow promises to get dried up author William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) to write a new play "Romeo And Ethel The Pirate's Daughter!"

                Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow) also has similar worries to Henslow, while wanting to become an actress (or at the least an actor) she finds herself due to be married off to Lord Wessex (Colin Firth). The dawning of a new play by Shakespeare and the knowledge that women are not allowed to act; Viola develops a character a pseudonym in fact known as Thomas Kent. Viola disguised at Thomas Kent lands a role in the play.
                A chance encounter with Viola at a party finds that Shakespeare has fallen for this beauty, while during the day the acting of Thomas Kent also pulls at Shakespeare's heartstrings. Both sides of Paltrow's character shift the writer's block that Shakespeare has suffered, inspiring to produce some of the greatest writing he has delivered in many years. Time is of the essence as Shakespeare must not only complete the play on time, but find good reason to make the lady Viola his before she marries Lord Wessex.


                Shakespeare In Love's most comedic elements are based around the fact that relatively speaking Shakespeare is talentless. All of his inspirations are stolen from the mouths and acts of others; his finest lines taken from religious nutcases and soothsayers that line the streets of the city. As the story of the love between young Will Shakespeare and Viola unravels he too uses that as the basis for his story.
                It's the comedy that is the beating heart of the movie the eternal mentions of "Aphrodite Baggott who does it behind the Dog and Trumpet" while not textually amusing never become tiring due to the clever delivery. Comedy is seldom missing from any scene during the first 90 minutes of the movie, and while not necessarily of the belly laughing variety it continues to keep a smile on your face.
                The movie even manages to strike comedy from the different language that Shakespearian plays used, allowing its lead cast members to poke fun at the different uses of the same word. Undoubtedly of some pleasure to Shakespearaphobes will be the knowledge that every word of the movie is clearly understandable, while delivered with an olden world charm.

                This American movie with a British heart is a most beautiful affair, every scene colour rich and desirable, shot in the most sumptuous of locations, never has the British countryside looked so good. As is commonplace with American/British productions there must be a certain amount of American casting, so as well as Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Affleck takes a leading role.

                Joseph Fiennes strikes a worthy pose as a leather clad Shakespeare, not quite the image one conjures in your head when thinking of the great playwright, but one that Fiennes certainly makes his own within a very short period of time; for me no actor has ever filled the role so well, even despite the fact that this is a more fictional portrayal of the bard than has ever been seen before. Fiennes plays mainly for the comedy and even in sword fighting action scenes manages to produce a laugh by falling from the stage and launching a retaliatory attack with a Jester's rattle. Towards the middle of the movie he even camps it up dressing as a nurse maid to avoid detection.

                As stark contrast Paltrow performance is a much more straight laced role, only occasionally breaking into moments of comedy. She is the anchor that keeps the movie historically stabilised, and a much needed one it is too. Paltrow has never looked more glorious, without a doubt a woman who suits historical attire. Paltrow successfully pulls off a neutral toned accent, so often lacking when American stars assume British speaking roles. She could easily be Kate Winslett, or Emily Blunt your never at any point given reason to question her roots. Add to this a one hundred percent stellar performance that in my eyes knocks the socks off anything she had acted in prior, and her previous movie Great Expectations was an incredibly difficult act to follow.
                The cast is filled with small performances from classic British stars Imelda Staunton, Martin Clunes, Lucy Speed, Jim Carter,and Simon Callow to name just a handful; you'll also observe many a comedy character from shows such as the Fast Show bolstering one scene acts. Sat in the heart of these smaller roles sits Judy Dench as the queen, a performance that is certainly not one easily amused. The most severe and fast tongued member of the cast, delivering menace in every word she says. Her response to the situation where in reality Walter Raleigh laid down his cloak so she may pass over a puddle is one not to be missed. Dench fills this role admirably with not only terror but humour, this is not a lady you would readily cross, and this is not a performance that should be missing from this classic movie.

                As well as the performances that carry out on the screen, much focus should be paid to the beautiful orchestral score that accompanies the movie. Each piece of music accurately encompasses the action onscreen and is clearly identifiable as Shakespeare In Love should you hear it beyond the confines of the movie.
                On the subject of sound, this is definitely a movie that benefits from a good surround sound system, while easily enjoyable without such a utility; it makes for a bigger and better experience. While the music benefits from surround sound, the vocals without a doubt improve especially in theatre scenes where you quite literally feel as if your among the audience.

                Shakespeare In Love's two hour running time passes in a heartbeat, during which time you have travelled a rollercoaster of emotions and seen a film that will create a difficult act to follow. Not only did this movie clean up in the box office, it was without a doubt the biggest movie of 1999 (which was when it was released in the UK) if you excuse the long awaited return of Star Wars, clutching from this a handful of awards from the most prestigious award ceremonies in the world.
                When it comes to special features you have the following:-

                Shakespeare In Love And On Film: A look behind the scenes of the movie, and the phenomenon of the movie. With interviews from key cast members, Geoffrey Rush tells how having read only 3 pages of the script he was compelled to star in the movie, in any part he could possibly get. Leather clad in modern day clothing Fiennes explains the values of the story, and how he too felt the passion of the story. This promotional piece of material gives a potential viewer all the fuel they need to see this fantastic movie.
                TV Spots: A series of brief promotional trailers used to promote the movie between adverts on US television.

                Academy Award Winning Costume: A short 2 minute piece on Sandy Powell (formally the costume designer from Velvet Goldmine) and her amazing costumes, in which she blends elements of the modern with the classical. She talks with passion about her inspiration for her designs which stemmed from Zaphorelli's Romeo & Juliet.
                Two Commentary tracks: the first with John Madden the movies director. The second with Donna Jaloty the producer of the film who discusses the battle to win over the script. Mark Norman the script writer who talks about his inspirations for the script and how they came from his own children. Tom Stoppard talks about his introduction to the movie and how it was already in formation but needed that extra burst of activity. Producer David Parfitt tells of how the script reached his desk with the directive that the movie had to be completed for less than 10 million dollars. Martin Childs discusses the set production of the sets, and his quest for people to help him build 1593 all over again. Geoffrey Rush elaborates on how he felt when reading the role of Henslow, and his thoughts on his costume. Sandy Powell elaborates also on her costume design roots that she briefly mentions in her 2 minute documentary featured earlier on the disc. Cinematographer Richard Greatrix discusses the knowledge he learned on set in trying to achieve what is seemed to be impossible. The flaw in this commentary is that you find it difficult to keep track of who is who, a common flaw in multi commentaried tracks.

                Deleted Scenes: More cut down than deleted this 10 minute feature simply introduces specific scenes with a longer run-time. And most importantly one of the movies final and most heart rending scenes.
                Trailer: Finally the theatrical trailer that promoted the movie, and shows the real comedy of the movie. Featuring a different score used in the movie, but no less impressive.

                Shakespeare In Love is easily available on Universals budget range of DVD's between £5 and £10.

                Comments

                Login or register to add comments
                • More +
                  22.03.2007 15:52
                  3 Comments

                  Advantages

                  Disadvantages

                  great film!!

                  Shakespeare in love

                  Set in 16/17th century Gwyneth Paltrow is a noble woman desperately wanting to be an actor in a time when only men could take part on stage. Discussed as a man she auditions for William Shakespeare's new play Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) picks her for the part of Romeo but then on meeting again as herself he finds him self falling in love with her and her for him.
                  However he is a lowly pay writer and she is due to marry the vulgar lord Wessex (Colin firth).
                  Judi Dench plays the wonderful queen Elisabeth and asks in the film if any play can truly show love and not just lust and comedy. After seeing Paltrow and Fiennes in Romeo and Juliet she agrees that Shakespeare's plays show love and thinks highly of Platrow for working in a mans world. However she is still set to marry Wessex and even the Queen can not stand in the way of husband and wife.
                  Not to give the end away but it is not a happy ending.
                  It has love, devotion, lust, murder, comedy, sadness, everything you could possible want, even fight scenes for the men!

                  The film gives you a great insight in to Shakespeare's time and what it must have been like in the theatres at that time. It shows you the Globe and the curtain theatres and although its not accurate it's a good look into early 16th century theatre.

                  This film has such a great line up of English actors as well as American.
                  Many members of the fast show keep popping up (whose names escape me at present) as well as Martin Clunnes Gwyneth Paltrow/Joseph Fiennes/Colin Firth/Ben Affleck/and Judi Dench. It really is a great cast

                  The costumes are wonderful, Elizabethan clothing, and settings make it all the more romantic.

                  A great film with great actors/actress and wonderful performances by all.

                  Oh and by the way fella's you get to see Gwyneth Paltrow breast's in the love scenes

                  i saw this at pictures when it first came out so dont know the dvd price sorry.

                  sorry if i spelled some of the names wrong

                  Comments

                  Login or register to add comments
                • Product Details

                  One of the most endearing and intelligent romantic comedies of the 1990s, the Oscar-winning Shakespeare in Love is 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 theatre 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, tragic Romeo 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). 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 coaster, with director John Madden (Mrs. Brown) reigning in his huge ensemble with rollicking energy. Along the way there are small gems to be found, including Judi Dench's eight-minute, Oscar-winning turn as a truly regal Queen Elizabeth, but the key element of Shakespeare in Love's success rests on the milky-white shoulders of its two stars. Fiennes, inexplicably overlooked at Oscar time, is a dashing, heartfelt Will and as for Best Actress winner Paltrow, well, nothing she'd done before could have prepared viewers for how amazing she is here. Breathtakingly beautiful, fiercely intelligent, strong-willed and lovestruck--it's a performance worthy of Shakespeare in more ways than one. By the film's end, you'll be thoroughly won over--and brushing up your Shakespeare with newfound ardour. --Mark Englehart