Shakespeare in Love [Blu-ray]
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It all begins when Lady Viola, desperate to become an actor at a time when women were forbidden from such depravity, disguises herself as a man to audition for Will's play. But the guise slips away as their passion ignites. Now Will's quill again begins to flow, this time turning love into words, as Viola becomes his real-life Juliet and Romeo finds his reason to exist.
One of the most endearing and intelligent romantic comedies of the '90s, the Oscar-winning Shakespeare in Love is filled with such good will, sunny romance, snappy one-liners, and devilish cleverness that it's absolutely irresistible. With tongue placed firmly in cheek, at its outset the film tracks young Will Shakespeare's overwrought battle with writer's block and the efforts of theater owner Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush, in rare form) to stage Will's latest comedy, Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter. Jokey comedy, though, soon takes a backseat to ravishing romance when the beautiful Viola De Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow) disguises herself as a young man to wangle herself an audition in the all-male cast, and wins both the part of Romeo and, after much misunderstanding, the playwright's heart. Soon enough, Will's pirate comedy becomes the beautiful, tragic Romeo and Juliet, reflecting the agony and ecstasy of Will and Viola's romance--he's married and she's set to marry the slimy Lord Wessex (Colin Firth) in the near future.
The way that Oscar-winning screenwriters Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard enfold their story within the parameters of Romeo and Juliet (and even Twelfth Night) is nothing short of brilliant--it would take a Shakespearean scholar to dissect the innumerable parallels, oft-quoted lines, plot developments, and thematic borrowings. And most amazingly, Norman and Stoppard haven't forgotten to entertain their audience in addition to riding a Shakespearean roller coaster, with director John Madden (Mrs. Brown) reigning in his huge ensemble with rollicking energy. Along the way there are small gems to be found, including Judi Dench's eight-minute, Oscar-winning turn as a truly regal Queen Elizabeth, but the key element of Shakespeare in Love's success rests on the milky-white shoulders of its two stars. Fiennes, inexplicably overlooked at Oscar time, is a dashing, heartfelt Will, and as for Best Actress winner Paltrow, well, nothing she'd done before could have prepared viewers for how amazing she is here. Breathtakingly beautiful, fiercely intelligent, strong-willed, and lovestruck--it's a performance worthy of Shakespeare in more ways than one. By the film's end, you'll be thoroughly won over--and brushing up your Shakespeare with newfound ardor. --Mark Englehart --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The film is really two love stories: one a bawdy romance between two smitten humans, and the other an ode to the art of theatre. The writers'/director's love for showmanship is loud and evident throughout the brilliant screenplay, and if you're a fan of wordplay in any way, well then this is a surefire delight.
Both Paltrow and Fienners turn in lusciously romantic performances in their respective roles -- she pulls off the formidable order of gender-switching without a hitch, and he has just the right pitches and patterns for a young, struggling Shakespeare. Geoffrey Rush is magnetic as usual.
Don't be fooled by the Elizabethan accoutrements, this film and its arsenal of laconic quips could easily shoot several contemporary romances to dust. Buy this one in fact, don't just rent, it quite comfortably stands the test of more than one viewing..
This would be a great teaser for high school students studying Shakespeare. It makes him (and his works) seem fun, human, and relevant to today. And there are great quiz opportunities in spotting the many references to the plays: twelfth night (the sequel commissioned by the queen); Hamlet (studying the skull); Macbeth and others (ghost scene); more on Romeo ("a plague on both their houses").
Beyond that, in true Shakespearean style, we are offered the "play within the play" - in this case Romeo and Juliet. Excellent editing gives us just enough to convey the mood of an Elizabethan performance, leaving us wanting more. This film does a great job of broadening the appeal of the most popular writer.
And don't miss the topical in-jokes - the "cabby" rowing the boat, and especially Glenda Jackson saying she knows what it's like to do a man's job (she plays "M" in the Bond movies). Bill S. would have approved. High praise indeed.
And if anything, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE's virtues are even more immediately apparent. This is, from beginning to end, a masterpiece of romantic comedy that takes an ingenious concept and transforms it into a hilarious parody, a passionate love story, and ultimately a testament to the power of the written word.
The screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, brimming with wit and intricate Shakespearean allusions and in-jokes, is a marvel; because the crackling dialogue flies so fast, the film rewards multiple viewings by revealing more and more of itself each time.
The acting is superb. Joseph Fiennes, as young Will Shakespeare gives easily the most underrated performance of the year. Gwyneth Paltrow, juggling multiple roles with subtle aplomb, more than deserved her Oscar (though Cate Blanchett was equally brilliant in the title role of ELIZABETH). The standout among a strong supporting cast is Dame Judi Dench, whose short but delicious turn as the mesmerizing Queen Elizabeth provides the film with some of its juiciest moments.
I've been reading some of the reviews on this board, and to be honest it's quite sad. It's sad when reviewers can't recognize a genuine work of cinematic art. It's sad when reviewers can't appreciate one of the smartest and most beautifully crafted entertainments of the year.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Clever movie. I enjoy it more each time I watch it. Helps if you are very familiar with Romeo and Juliet.Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
Story line not great. Probably historically accurate. Definitely not a "watch-again" DVD or one to be added to a collection.Published on June 24 2014 by Gail Macmillan
I loved this film.
It is about a fictional love affair between Shakespeare & his love for a woman who desires to be an actress. Read more