Shakespeare In Love is a classic romantic comedy. The film was written by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard and was directed by John Madden. With a superb all star cast including Joseph Fiennes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Geoffrey Rush and Judi Dench the film was destined for success. The story is supposedly based on Shakespeare’s life and includes many characters and references from his work.
The film was a massive box office hit and was also extremely well received by critics and audiences alike. The film scoop the board at the Oscars winning seven awards from 12 nominations including Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress.
Although generally very well accepted the film has a few dissenters, particularly with the large number of awards won for what is basically a standard romantic comedy with an all star cast. Having said that all the actors performed wonderfully and this glut of talent no doubt helped the film’s success. Especially good were all the Shakespearean plot devices used such as cross-dressing, mistaken identities and the play within a play.
The story follows a particular time in Shakespeare’s life when he is trying to write Romeo and Juliet. He is suffering from writer’s block and is unable to complete the play but continues with preparations. He casts a young boy who is, unbeknownst to Shakespeare, actually a merchant’s daughter, Viola. When Viola’s identity becomes known to Shakespeare they begin a secret affair and he is inspired and able to finish the play. However, Viola is betrothed to a Lord and their love is doomed from the start.
Cinema release 1998
Available on DVD