1 January 2015

Shakespeare in Love

Shakespeare in Love 1998
  • Director: John Madden
  • Based on novel: no
  • Cast: Joseph Fiennes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Geoffrey Rush, Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Anthony Sher, Imelda Staunton, Colin Firth, Jim Carter, Ben Affleck, Martin Clunes, Jill Baker
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Joseph Fiennes  Good-bye Bafana, The Darwin Awards, Merchant of Venice, Elizabeth
    • Gwyneth Paltrow – Two Lovers, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, The Royal Tenenbaums, A Perfect Murder, Sliding Doors, Moonlight and Valentino, Seven, Hook
    • Geoffrey Rush – Pirates of the Caribbean, The King’s Speech, Elizabeth the Golden Age, Intolerable Cruelty, Ned Kelly, The Banger Sisters, Frida, Lantana, Elizabeth, Les Miserables, Shine, Twelfth Night
    • Judi Dench – Cranford, Mrs. Henderson Presents, Ladies in Lavender, The Shipping News, Hotel Marigold, Tea with Mussolini, Chocolat, Mrs. Brown, 84 Charing Cross Road, A Room with a View, Macbeth
    • Tom Wilkinson – The Lone Ranger, Best Exotic Hotel Marigold, Valkyrie, Michael Clayton, Batman Begins, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Girl with the Pearl Earring, Shakespeare in Love, Smilla’s Sense of Snow
    • Anthony Sher – Mrs. Brown, The Winter’s Tale, Merchant of Venice
    • Imelda Staunton - Another Year, Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter, Cranford. Taking Woodstock, Freedom Writers, A Midsummer Night’s Dream Retold, Nanny McPhee, Vera Drake, David Copperfield, Twelfth Night, Sense and Sensibility, Much Ado about Nothing, Peter’s Friends
    • Colin Firth – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The King’s Speech, Mamma Mia, Then She Found Me, Nanny McPhee, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Love Actually, Girl with the Pearl Earring, My Life So Far, A Thousand Acres, Fever Pitch, The English Patient
    • Mark Williams – Harry Potter, Merlin (Goblin’s voice), Stardust, Tristram Shandy, Whatever Happened to Harold Smith
    • Jim Carter – Downton Abbey, My Week with Marilyn, Cranford, Creation, Modigliani, Ella Enchanted, Keep the Aspidistras Flying, Brassed Off, Richard III, The Madness of King George
    • Ben Affleck – He’s Just Not That Into You, Daredevil, Changing Lanes, Dogma, Good Will Hunting
    • Martin Clunes – William and Mary, Saving Grace, Swing Kids, Jeeves and Wooster
    • Simon Callow – Angels in America, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Howards End, Postcards from the Edge, A Room with a View, Amadeus
    • Jill Baker – Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Wallander, Notes on a Scandal, Macbeth
  • Why?  Shakespeare
  • Seen:  Five or six or seven times previously.  Now December 31, 2014
Hal and I first saw this at the cinema when it came out, before our Shakespeare days.  We loved it.  Even though we weren’t the Shakespeare freaks we are now we still laughed a lot more than most of the audience, recognising more from the plays than the others.  Each time we see it we recognise more.
I have a young friend who asked me worriedly if Shakespeare really was unfaithful to his wife. “This is pretend,” I told him gently, adding that we can know nothing of Shakespeare’s love life but documents show that he returned to Stratford regularly, and lived the last years of his life there, presumably with his wife Anne Hathaway.
All of which has nothing to do with this wonderful film.
Our Shakespeare marathon is essentially finished for this time (see my blog Shakespeare Calling).  We have been saving  Shakespeare in Love to add the final touch and what better occasion can there be than New Year’s Eve?
Enter Henslowe, in debt.
Enter Shakespeare, with writer’s cramp.
Enter Master Thomas Kent, alias Viola de Lessups.
I won’t tell you the story. If you haven’t seen the film, see it.
It’s an ingeniously clever interweaving of fact and fiction, of the plays and the dialog and the love story of Will and Viola.
The atmosphere of 16th century London is exuberant and colourful. Great alertness is required to catch all the witticisms and a handkerchief at hand is recommended. Even an anti-romantic such as me falls for it every time and tears do drip.
I won’t bother you with the imperfections.  The film as a whole is far too enjoyable to worry about them.

6 ½ * of 7

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