Shakespeare in Love (1998)

R   |    |  Comedy, Drama, History


Shakespeare in Love (1998) Poster

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.

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7.1/10
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  • Director John Madden
  • Shakespeare in Love (1998)
  • Gwyneth Paltrow at an event for Shakespeare in Love (1998)
  • Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes in Shakespeare in Love (1998)
  • Marilu Henner at an event for Shakespeare in Love (1998)
  • Shakespeare in Love (1998)

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Cast & Crew

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Director:

John Madden

Writers:

Marc Norman, Tom Stoppard

Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


29 December 1998 | vspa87
An excellent film in all aspects.
I had high hopes for this film from the first time I saw the trailer. I am happy to say that the film lives up to the previews. Although it is an art house flick of sorts, it manages to be profound and accessible at the same time. So many art house films manage to be merely pretentious, as if aimed at those that want to believe that they are having an intellectual experience rather than those who are really open to one. This film shows that you can make a film of substance that is at the same time very entertaining.

One thing that stood out was the way they showed enough of the performance of Romeo and Juliet so that you could understand what the play is about, without making it a film of the play per se. There are many parallels between the fictional play and the events of the film, and this goes to underscore the relevance of great literature to the human condition. The actual performance of the play was acted so well that there were times when a character in the play was in a fight and I said to myself "they're really fighting, that guy really got stabbed!" So often a play within a movie is acted in a very staged manner, so this was a welcome surprise. And for anyone who is a fan of Shakespeare, it is easy to find little tidbits to reflect upon - such as the fact that Shakespeare himself was fond of the "play within a play" theme that we see in this film.

The performances are excellent throughout, including minor characters. In the midst of tragedy there is genuine comic relief, just as in Shakespeare. The historical details that surround the conjectural main plot are accurate down to the names of the actual people with whom Shakespeare crossed paths. In the end "Shakespeare in Love" causes us to feel as well as think, to think as well as to be entertained.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the 500 movies nominated for the Top 100 Funniest American Movies.


Quotes

Hugh Fennyman: Henslowe! Do you know what happens to a man who doesn't pay his debts? His boots catch fire!
Hugh Fennyman: Why do you howl when it is I who am bitten?


Goofs

In the 1590s, Wessex owns "tobacco plantations in America". There were neither tobacco plantations nor English colonies in America in the 1590s. The Roanoke colony at North Carolina (called Virginia at the time) failed in 1587, and tobacco monoculture did not begin in Virginia until after 1607. The filmmakers knew this.


Alternate Versions

The Region 2 DVD contains some deleted scenes:

  • A different end sequence. Here the conversation between Will and Viola is shorter than in the final film. After Viola has left Burbage enters and stops Will from running after Viola. He also takes the 50 pounds and says "Welcome to the Chamberlain's Men". The scene where Lord Wessex's ship sinks is also different. Here we see that Viola survives the drowning and is washed ashore an unknown coast. There she asks two people where she is. Their reply is "This is America".
  • A slightly different version of the scene where Burbank and his men fight against Will and his actors in the theatre. The sequence is largely the same as the scene used in the final film but parts are shown from different angles. A small conversation between Fennyman and Henslowe is added where they discuss about business.
  • A small scene which takes place after Henslowe has announced the audition. Here the two actors John and James walk to the court to play witnesses. When they meet the other actors and hear that Will Shakespeare needs actors for his new play they follow them to the audition.
  • A deleted take where Tom Wilkinson announces that he will be playing the apothecary. To Rushs question "How does the comedy end?" Fiennes replys "By God, I wish I knew". Then Rush says "By God, if you do not, who does? Let us have pirates, clowns and a happy ending and you'll make Harvey Weinstein a happy man."


Soundtracks

The Play & the Marriage
(uncredited)
Written by
Stephen Warbeck
Performed by Catherine Bott
Conducted by Nick Ingman

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Comedy | Drama | History | Romance

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