Projections - Movie Reviews

Shakespeare In Love

The beauty of Shakespeare in Love transcends a Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) who is portrayed as weak indecisive twit who can't write until Viola De Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow) enters his life and inspires his work.

The clever screen play wraps fiction around historical fact somewhat like Forest Gump.  As Shakespeare struggles with a new play, Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush) fights off the money lenders and the authorities who will not stand for a woman playing a part on stage.  Hugh Fennyman (Tom Wilkinson) expects to make money on the new play but becomes engrossed in the production and plays a small pivotal part.  Colin Firth is perfect as Lord Wessex, Viola's future husband by arrangement.  Ned Alleyn (Ben Affleck), a powerful actor, comes to love his limited role in the new play, and Judy Dench is Queen Elizabeth in a dominate short appearance.

The best of Shakespeare in Love is the presentation of Romeo and Juliet in a theater shaped like the Globe in which Paltrow plays Juliet and Fiennes is Romeo.  It is the culmination of the work of the cast, financiers and the inspired writing of Shakespeare.

There is a warmth emitted by each of the players, this is a combined work, Paltrow has the best part and is a delight as a young woman in love with Shakespeare but committed to another.  Their love scenes are warm, convincing and beautiful.  The confusion of mixed-up messages and misbegotten desires is worthy of Shakespeare, and the joy of Shakespeare in Love makes for a delightful film.

It is rated (R) for sexual situations.

Shakespeare In Love
A Top Ten pick for 1998

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