See This: Shakespeare in Love

Gwyneth Paltrow in drag in Shakespeare in Love
Gwyneth Paltrow in drag in Shakespeare in Love

 

 

Judi Dench won an Oscar for an eight-minute on-screen performance, which in her acceptance speech even she admitted was slightly pushing it, but her Elizabeth R was the icing on a very lavish cake that reminded a lot of people that there were other ways to do romantic comedy than the prevailing models – ie Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan doing it the adult Nora Ephron way or Freddie Prinze Jr/Julia Stiles doing the high school equivalent. On second viewing the richness is even more apparent, yet what’s also clear is that the romantic element is handled with a featherlight touch, as “blocked” Bill Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) gets all Romeo and Juliet with a heavily disguised Gwyneth Paltrow (then on her big run of success which included Emma, Sliding Doors and The Talented Mr Ripley). So you can either watch this as a charming if fairly bimbo-brained love story, or engage the mind and drink in the allusions and deliberate anachronisms dropped in by adapter Tom Stoppard. There’s also the fact of playful casting conceits (Ben Affleck pops up), counterpointing what is for the most part a heavy-hitting cast of British stage regulars. Worth every one of its seven Oscars.

© Steve Morrissey 2013

 

Shakespeare in Love – at Amazon

 

 

 

 

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  • Shakespeare in Love (1998) Comedy, Drama, History | 2h 3min | 8 January 1999 (USA) 7.1
    Director: John MaddenWriters: Marc Norman, Tom StoppardStars: Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey RushSummary: William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) is a known but struggling poet, playwright, and actor, who not only has sold his next play to both Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush) and Richard Burbage (Martin Clunes), but now faces a far more difficult problem: he is bereft of ideas and has yet to begin writing. He is in search of his muse, the woman who will inspire him but all attempts fail him until he meets the beautiful Viola De Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow). She loves the theatre and would like nothing more than to take to the stage, but is forbidden from doing so as only men can be actors. She is also a great admirer of Shakespeare's works. Dressing as a man, and going by the name of "Thomas Kent", she auditions and is ideal for a part in his next play. Shakespeare soon sees through her disguise and they begin a love affair, one they know cannot end happily for them as he is already married and she has been promised to the dour Lord Wessex (Colin Firth). As the company rehearses his new play, ... Written by garykmcd

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