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A Midsummer Night's Dream

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Starring: Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfeiffer
Director: Michael Hoffman
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 115 Minutes
Release Date: April 1999
Genres: Comedy, Romance

*Also starring: Calista Flockhart, Rupert Everett, Stanley Tucci, Anna Friel, Dominic West, Christian Bale, David Strathairn, Sophie Marceau

Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

Susan Granger's review of "WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S 'A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM'" (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Without doubt, Shakespeare is the most sought-after screenwriter in Hollywood. And why not? The game-playing of his characters and their efforts to grapple with reason and love seem quite contemporary, and Shakespeare neither contests re-writes nor demands royalties. Writer/director Michael Hoffman's clever adaptation of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is set in Tuscany around 1900, coinciding with the advent of the bicycle. The plot deals with love in all of its comical and fantastical forms, complicated by fairy jealousy, love potions, and misbegotten romances. The wondrous evening begins with Duke Theseus' involvement in a dispute involving Hermia who loves Lysander but is being forced to marry Demetrius, who is adored by Helena. In the forest, there are five amateur thespians rehearsing "Pyramus and Thisbe," plus the love game between Oberon and Titania, the King and Queen of the Fairies, complicated by the trickster sprite Puck. There have been at least six film versions of this 400 year-old play, including one with 11 year-old Mickey Rooney as Puck, but this vibrant, all-star cast dazzles, particularly Kevin Kline, Rupert Everett, Michelle Pfeifferand Stanley Tucci. Curiously, Calista Flockhart transforms the obsessed Helena into another version of her whining but spunky Ally McBeal character; her mud-wrestling scene with Anna Friel, complete with clinging, wet clothes could only be called bizarre. "What fools these mortals be!" On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "William Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'" is a mischievous, whimsical 9. It's a charming, frothy frolic that captures the enchantment and delight of Shakespeare's most magical comedy.

Copyright 1999 Susan Granger

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