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Shakespeare In Love (1998)
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Review Date: January 25, 1999
Director: John Madden
Writer: Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard
Producers: M. Herskovitz, M. Norman, D. Parfitt, Harvey Weinstein, Edward Zwick
Actors:
Gwyneth Paltrow as Viola De Lesseps
Joseph Fiennes as W. Shakespeare
Geoffrey Rush as Philip Henslowe
Plot:
Playwright William Shakespeare stumbles onto writer's block as he ponders over his next play entitled "Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter". But as he falls in love with the beautiful Viola, he re-ignites his writing passion, and utilizes that energy to inspire many wonderful new ideas and scenarios.
Critique:
Let it be said that I do not care for, or know much about, the works or the writings of one William Shakespeare. Let it also be said that I do not care or particularly enjoy period pieces on film. Having said those two things, let it be said that I did not care for this film, its story or its ancient British speak, which practically turned this movie into a "foreign film" for me, but without the subtitles! Whether you want to correlate those quips with the absence of culture within me, that is your prerogative, but suffice it to say that I did not find much to be entertained by in this "beautiful-to-look-at", but "boring to behold" picture.

So is it a bad movie? I think the answer to that question would be extremely correlated to my previous two points. If you're one that is interested in Shakespeare and period pieces, then you might just enjoy this flick. I mean, I'll admit that is does have some great acting, beautiful costumes and set designs, and an acute sense of authenticity. It's also an original story idea to take a fictitious look at the creation of Shakespeare's famous "Romeo and Juliet" play. Interesting enough for those that care, I suppose. Having said that, if you're like me, and don't really care, enjoy or understand any of that Shakespeare mumbo-jumbo, don't let the hype fool ya, cause this puppy pees just like the rest of them!

The actors are strong with Joseph Fiennes pulling off an impressive Willy, and Paltrow puppy-eyeing her way through yet another flawless British accent (Someone check her papers, she must have British blood!!). Another huge surprise for me, was good ol' American Joe, Ben Affleck, pulling off a more than decent Brit player. His performance actually skewed my opinion of the man's acting abilities, despite his half-baked jobs in some other flicks. I don't have much more to say on this film, besides the fact that I found it to be the second most overrated picture of the year (with HAPPINESS (3/10) losing hands down on that one), quite long, laborious to interpret, and not very funny (Witty perhaps, but I must've missed the "laugh" signs somewhere in this "comedy"). See it if you dig Shakespeare and his whole schtick, but skip it altogether, if British drawls and period films just ain't your bag.
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian
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