Movie Review: Shakespeare in Love (1998)


Plot:A young Shakespeare, out of ideas and short of cash, meets his ideal woman and is inspired to write one of his most famous plays.

Rating: 8.5/10

Have you ever just wanted to write a review and start (and end) with “sooooo, I liked it”? Is that the equivalent of writer’s block for the blogging community? I’ll usually start writing it out and hope something comes from the material, something to spark my opinions, but usually I just aimlessly wander through words hoping to hit a mark.

That is where Shakespeare in Love also starts. I just uncomfortably realized that I’ve now compared myself to William Shakespeare, author of the English language. Now that that is out of the bag, I really liked this film. (See, doing it again)


Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) has writer’s block, and gives a bracelet to Rosalind, a lady with negotiable affections, with the hope that she will become the muse for his next play. Because she’s a lady with negotiable affections, he finds her in the arms of another man, but luckily finds it in him to pen at least a draft of a very wild idea. Through twists and turns he meets Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow), a beautiful girl who is betrothed to Lord Wessex (Colin Firth). Viola falls for Shakespeare and he for her, and they embark on an adventure of romance and intrigue.

This film won the 71st Academy Award for best film in 1998/1999. I checked the other films that went up against it, and while I would have rather awarded the award to Saving Private Ryan (I mean really, there is no comparison here), Shakespeare in Love is a solid film. It takes a significant amount of talent and dedication to make a love story worthy of Academy notice, something this film did very well, winning seven of the eleven awards it was nominated for.


Gwyneth Paltrow took one of those awards for Best Actress for her role as Viola. Now, Gwyn gets some steady hate and although I’m not always sure why, she’s not my favorite actress. I adored her in here though. She seems so clean and pure and alive, in contrast to the Queen (Judi Dench), and the insufferable Lord Wessex. Her love for Shakespeare is quick and potent, though no one can blame her – I mean just look at Joseph Fiennes’ eyes.


Now, Joseph Fiennes. A new inappropriate post needs to be up soon, but I won’t litter this review with my appreciative thoughts. Questions though: why isn’t he in more movies? He is a solid actor. Is he related to Ralph Fiennes? I hope so. Is he very beautiful? Yes. I doubt if the real Shakespeare was so beautiful, but he was likely as passionate. Fiennes is a great Shakespeare – passionate, beautiful and intelligent.

The supporting cast does a wonderful job as well, and many British actors and actresses have small parts in here that I enjoyed recognizing their faces. Judi Dench is intimidating as the Queen, and I enjoyed the silly young Ben Affleck (not English) in here – so cute! Imelda Staunton, Jim Carter and Mark Williams are all in mostly small roles, but man, they were lovely to watch.


Shakespeare in Love is quite clearly a drama/romance. It might not be for everyone – it is heavy on the sexy time, full of quite lame phrases and gestures. I however, am rather squishy at heart and really enjoy a good romantic film. John Madden was an excellent director, and the cast manages to be talented, humorous, quick-witted, sad, heartbreaking and entertaining at once.

And like I said, I really liked it 😀

Have you seen Shakespeare in Love? What did you think of it?

Silver Linings Playbook Review

I have been curious about this film from the moment I saw the trailer. It seemed like a quirky romantic movie, and the reviews indicated fantastic-ness. When I saw it (about a month ago) I was incredibly impressed. I can really see why Jennifer Lawrence won best actress at the Academy Awards.

silver linings playbook

Patrick Solitano’s (Bradley Cooper) life is messed up. After finding his wife in the shower with her lover and beating him nearly to death, he is booked into a psychiatric hospital for bipolar disorder. Pat’s mother manages to get him an early release, and he is taken back to his child home, forced to live with his mother and OCD father.

Patrick is obsessed with getting his marriage back on tracks. He largely ignores the fact that his wife took out a restraining order against him. He continuously looks for ways to regain her love.

One night Patrick’s good friend Ronnie Maxwell invites him to dinner to celebrate his release from hospital. Ronnie’s wife, Veronica (played by the delightful Julia Stiles) invites her sister, Tiffany, to the dinner as well. Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) is the black sheep of the family. After her husband died, she coped with her loss by sleeping with everyone in her office. She is every bit as crazy as Patrick, and they strike up an unlikely agreement and eventual friendship. Tiffany agrees to get a letter to Pat’s estranged wife, in return for him helping her train for a dancing contest she needs a partner for. Patrick reluctantly agrees because he is challenged by everything it represents: doing something new, forgiving himself and his attraction to Tiffany. She gives the letter to his wife, but fakes a reply and gives it to him, giving him hope for a possible reconciliation.

Patrick Senior (Robert DeNiro) lost his job and is making money on the side by bookkeeping. He truly believes that Pat junior is the lucky charm for his football team, the Eagles, and wants Patrick to watch every game with him. There comes trouble when Patrick needs to train with Tiffany at the same time there is a game on – and when the Eagles lose, Pat senior loses all his money on a bet. They make a bet with one of elder Patrick’s friend, that the Eagles will win, and Patrick and Tiffany will score an average of 5 in their dancing competition. The Eagles winning is one thing, but the score of five seems a large stretch with the dancing team not even at an average level.

Patrick refuses, and the only way his family convinces him to do it is by telling him that his estranged wife will be there. Tiffany also echoes this lie, although she is very reluctant to do this.

On the night of the competition, his wife does show up – with an invitation of Ronnie and Veronica. Patrick and Veronica dance, and they get their unexpected 5. Tiffany leaves in a rush when she sees Patrick’s wife congratulating him. He follows her, and tells her that he found out weeks ago that she wrote his wife’s “reply” to the letter. He confesses to his realization that he loves her, and not his wife.

The story ends on a sweet note – Patrick and Tiffany happy, surrounded by their families.


Tiffany and Patrick practising for the dance competition.

Rating: 7/10

The film was great. It is honest and sad, and not the type of film usually released. There is such truth and honesty to the film, and it is more than just a romantic movie with an easy tale. It really is a fresh breeze in the world of movies. I feel that the cast was well chosen, and they did a spectacular job of portraying their roles. The movie is just over two hours long, but it doesn’t feel stretched. It seems like a movie everyone would like, so go give it a try 🙂