Writer: Marc Norman, Tom Stoppard (Screenplay)
Starring: Joseph Fiennes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Geoffrey Rush, Tom Wilkinson, Judi Dench, Colin Firth, Ben Affleck
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.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Oscar Heavy Classic
Story: Shakespeare in Love starts as Philip Henslowe (Rush) has been struggling to pay his debts to Hugh Fennyman (Wilkinson) and with his star scripter William Shakespeare (Fiennes) working on the latest play for the theatre which can clean his debts.
Shakespeare looking for his latest muse sees just how Queen Elizabeth (Dench) sees his work where we get to meet Viola De Lesseps (Paltrow) a wealthy daughter of London who dreams of being in a Shakespeare play. When William meets Viola the motivation behind Romeo and Juliet is born and with Viola is undercover as the lead actor of the play but is also being forced into marrying Lord Wessex (Firth) by Queen’s order. With the love between William and Viola being kept a secret one of the most iconic plays in history becomes the reality in the famous Rose theatre.
Thoughts on Shakespeare in Love
Story – The story here plays along the lines of seeing how love can inspire the best work from playwrights as we see the struggling Shakespeare re-discover his best work once he falls in love once again. The parallels to what is going on with the play and everyday situation all comes together very well as we see how the final pieces of the puzzle comes together. This does have a full stage feel to everything going on which could easily be a turn off for some people though.
Comedy/Drama/Romance – We have good theatre based comedy without being a joke a minute throughout this film, the film really does focus on the romantic angle between William, Viola and the problems she must face with arranged marriage to Lord Wessex.
Characters/Performance – The characters are all loosely based on real people that also become the characters within the Romeo and Juliet story that we have all come to know. The performances are all brilliant here showing us that if we want a stage play movie we can turn to these actors for first choice.
Settings – Each setting fits the time period perfectly as we would all be willing to believe we are in the middle of 1593 watching the creation Romeo and Juliet.
Final Thoughts – This is a film that not everyone will but is easily one of the most fascinating ones around as we learn the creation of one of the greatest plays ever written.
Overall: Classic in its own right.