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.
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?