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Shakespeare in Love

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Shakespeare in Love

Starring: Joseph Fiennes, Gwyneth Paltrow
Director: John Madden
Rated: R
RunTime: 122 Minutes
Release Date: December 1998
Genres: Comedy, Romance

Review by MrBrown
3½ stars out of 4

This Brit-set period romantic comedy had been in the development stages since 1990, with star pairings ranging from the promising (Kenneth Branagh and Winona Ryder, currently displaying a nice rapport in Woody Allen's _Celebrity_) to the potentially ghastly (Daniel Day-Lewis and... accent-challenged Julia Roberts?!) attached. _Shakespeare_ has now finally arrived onscreen, and, I am glad to report, in the right hands--those of director John Madden and stars Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow.

If Fiennes and Paltrow's charming lead turns as, respectively, the Bard and Lady Viola, the woman who melts away his writer's block and inspires _Romeo_and_Juliet_, is the lifeblood of this film, then its vigorous body is the deliciously witty script by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, full of great lines (most delivered by Judi Dench's Queen Elizabeth) and peppered with intelligent details (sly allusions to Shakespeare's _Twelfth_Night_). Madden is the film's spirit, coaxing memorable work from his cast--or, rather, _most_ of his cast (co-star Ben Affleck is too contemporary to convince as a pompous Elizabethan stage actor)--and striking a nice blend of light and heavy, achieving true emotion in its finale. However, the scale is definitely tipped toward the "light" side, for this fine film is frothy fun.

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