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Comedy - Adult

Shakespeare in Love (1998)


Duration 2h 3m Rating (UK) 15
Source of story A possible, or impossible, series of events in the life of the Bard in 1593 as he is writing Romeo and Juliet
Director John Madden
Writers/Script Marc Norman, Tom Stoppard
Starring Geoffrey Rush, Tom Wilkinson, Joseph Fiennes, Antony Sher, Martin Clunes, Sandra Reinton, Simon Callow, Judi Dench, Gwyneth Paltrow, Imelda Staunton, Colin Firth, Ben Afleck, Rupert Everett, John Inman

Elevator Pitch: It is London in 1593. There are two competing theatres, the Rose and the Curtain. For reasons of decency female parts are played by boys. Will Shakespeare, attempting to complete a play for the Rose, but nevertheless, auditioning for it, is attracted by Thomas Kent whose moustache and gamin hairstyle fails to conceal some feminine attributes, and after a chase Will comes face to face with Viola and they fall in love. He is able to go on to complete Romeo and Juliet, his world reflecting progress of the play, with cross dressing, sword fights and a threatening moneylender. In the end only Queen Elizabeth can save the day.

Content: The London theatrical world is whimsically reproduced, including a fair bit of rumpypumpy and female nudity. I can’t resist including a comment from the IMDb Content Advisory. “In one scene, the woman is on top thrusting violently and explicitly while panting heavily.” Will has writer’s block but it is only when he becomes involved with Thomas/Viola that the creative juices flow. So, much of old London with the actors from the two companies being opposed to each other in a Montagues and Capulets way. Also quite a few scenes in the toff’s mansion, with dancing and the like.

A View: This outing won seven Oscars, including Best Picture and many other awards. The critics loved it but the general public not quite so much. This is absolutely predictable, since there are a load of in jokes for the literati, and predictions about future of Shakespeare’s work. I felt that the script took a few liberties, not the least of which was Will and Viola getting down to it virtually at their first meeting. So, in summery, I am not an English graduate, so I only found it moderately entertaining, but if you are, probably worth the cost of a download.

Additional Info: Will need hardly have struggled for inspiration to write Romeo and Juliet, it was already a well known story.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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