Shakespeare in Love reviewed

Shakespeare in Love is a delightfully funny look into the Bard’s fictitious inspiration for his most famous love story. Bereft of ideas for his new play, Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter, Will (Fiennes) meets the beautiful theatre-loving Viola (Paltrow). Their love affair inspires the famous tragedy of the star-crossed lovers that we know today.

The comic characters are well performed by a great cast. Fiennes and Paltrow are a well-matched pair, however her swooning lover is a tad overdone. Rush has some of the best lines as aggravated theatre-owner, Henslowe, Affleck is great as arrogant actor, Alleyn, and Dench is excellent as austere Queen Elizabeth, winning the Oscar for only 8 minutes of screen time.

The art direction and costume designs are wonderfully done and transports you back to the days of the Rose Theatre and Lord Chamberlain’s Men.

The writing is clever, and nicely shows the parallels between the well-known play and Shakespeare’s personal life. Many dramatic devices of the Elizabethan era (play-within-a-play, mistaken identities, feuding families and sword fights) can be found in the film, often presented as if they were the real events that inspired Shakespeare’s work.

Despite its two-hour length, this charming film never drags and is a joy to watch. For those looking for a movie that captures the excitement and wonder of the theatre, look no further.

3.5 stars

Jo Bradley.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen this movie, but I enjoyed it. I will have to watch it again. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. LOVED this movie. Time to watch it again, I think. Good review.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Josh Hammond says:

    In so many rom-coms, I don’t “buy” the relationship between the main characters, don’t really believe that they’re in love and thus I’m supposed to care what happens to their relationship. Definitely not the case here (although having Romeo and Juliet underpinning it certainly helps).
    My only gripe was the missed opportunity for a final callback to Shakespeare when Paltrow wakes up on the shore of (presumably) Virginia in the epilogue: “What country, friends, is this?” “This is America (rather than Illyria), lady.” “And what should I do in America?” Maybe it was in joke too many . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. JoBradley says:

      I agree that the pair had good chemistry. I thought the ending was nice, although I haven’t read The Tempest. Thanks for commenting!


  4. dbmoviesblog says:

    Winona Ryder lost to her friend Paltrow the leading role, gosh only knows what movie would that be if she hadn’t…

    Liked by 1 person

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