Shakespeare in Love

9 out of 10


Amazing, Leaves You Laughing & Crying

In the opening to William Shakespeare`s "Romeo & Juliet", the title characters are termed as being "a pair of star-crossed lovers". That Serves quite well for the main characters in Miramax's latest movie, "Shakespeare in Love". Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow) is a woman of some nobility and who adores the Theatre. She dreams of love that, for most people, will never exist. William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes), a man down on his luck and needing to find his mews, is that man who shall bring her what she dreams of.

This movie is wonderfully shot, with strong acting from both lead characters and a large supporting cast. Nominated for 13 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actress, the picture has already received Critical acclaim. In fact, "Shakespeare In Love" was able to beat out such heavy hitters as last summer's war epic "Saving Private Ryan" in the recent Globe Awards to take home the Best Picture award. Paltrow, who's recent forays into the field of acting have been mediocre ("Great Expectations" for example), plays a convincing woman totally swept up in love that she's willing to break the law and risk jail in order to be with him.

Fiennes plays a Shakespeare as a true romantic as he yearns for the woman he cannot have. Acting on Fiennes part is less memorable that others with whom he shares the scenes: although, to give him his due, this is the first major work I've seen him in. Given time, I'm sure he can polish his trade and become a very fine character. Two supporting actors fill in the gaps left by others, and make the movie truly memorable. The first is Dame Judy Dench, who plays the aged, but still regal Elizabeth I. Only shown in three scenes, Dench plays a woman trapped in a man's job to a tee: a commanding presence with only a slight bit of compassion. The portrayal was enough to earn Dench a Best Supporting Actress Nomination at this year's Oscars. The second character is that of Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush). The bumbling theatre owner who's befallen bad times, knows nothing of what's going on under his nose, and the potential trouble it could cause until the last moment. "It's a mystery" as he says several times during the course of the two hours.

Although the title may suggest only a romance, "Shakespeare in Love" can be "rolling-in-the-aisles" funny on occasions. Of course, it's recommended that guys take their girlfriends to the movies to see it. But I wouldn't necessarily term this a "chick flick" as so many new movies of late can be deemed. There is enjoyable scenes for both sexes, and if you can get past the accents, both should really enjoy this amazing movie.

Film Critic: Jonathan Stewart