Sometimes it takes a little romance to write your best work, even if you’re William Shakespeare!
Director John Madden was nominated for Best Director Oscar.
Written by: Marc Norman, Tom Stoppard.
The cast includes: Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush, Colin Firth, Ben Affleck, Judi Dench, and Simon Callow.
Tagline: “The greatest love story almost never told… Love is the only inspiration.”
The setting is London in the summer of 1593, where a struggling playwright, known as William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes), seems to have developed a severe case of writers block over his latest piece of work. This is primarily due to guilt over his failed marriage and the lack of a meaningful, captivating female companionship. It isn’t until he gets caught up in a meaningful, and intense love affair, with the lovely Viola De Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow), that he has the quill flowing again.
Hugh Fennyman at the beginning of the story has little respect for actors and play writers. After firmly being put in his place by, well-known actor, (Ned Alleyn Ben Afflick’s character), he begins to grow in his appreciation of Shakespeare’s new play as he sits in on the rehearsals and develops a new respect in awe of the art form. He is thrilled and excited to be given the part of the druggist, who gives the poison to the character, Romeo. He enthusiastically and earnestly goes about learning his lines, oblivious to all that is happening around him.
However, the plot thickens. We soon discover that his beloved Viola, is actually none other than the talented thespian, Master Thomas Kent, who auditioned for and won the role of Romeo, in Shakespeare’s play. That wouldn’t be so bad except for the fact that she’s a lady (Paltrow) portraying a man. In those times women weren’t allowed to participate in such disgraceful activities as theatre. It was custom that only men were hired as actors and the played both the male and the female parts of a play.
Some of the best scenes by far were the rehearsal scenes, and then the actual performance of the play. Also worthy of note are the scenes with the Queen Elizabeth, played by the wonderful Judi Dench, who won the best supporting actress award for her performance in this film.
“Shakespeare In Love” is a fun and witty, yet dramatic film, that gets five stars from just about everybody.
The direction by John Madden, the wonderful screenplay by Mard Norman and Tom Stoppard, and the inspired cast all work together to produce a very entertaining ‘dramedy’.
The chemistry is great amongst the actors, especially Paltrow and Fiennes, who really play well off each other’s performances, and really carry the script to the height envisioned by the screenwriters, Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard.
Gwyneth Paltrow won the Oscar for best actress for her grace and finesse with this challenging transgendered role.
Geoffrey Rush’s performance, as Phillip Henslowe, the long suffering theater owner who had hired Shakespeare to write a play, earned him an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor.
Colin Girth, as the Lord of Wessex (Viola’s “husband-to-be”), isn’t bad either. He does well as the big, chauvinist jerk, who her father, Sir Robert de Lesseps (Nicholas Le Prevost), has picked for her to wed.
Tom Wilkinson, as the play financier, Hugh Fennyman, does an excellent job showing the personal growth of his character.