Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Retro Review: Shakespeare In Love (1998)

                                        Safe To Say I'm Not Too 'In Love' With This Movie

                    Now, when this movie won Best Picture at the Oscars, it was a very controversial win as it beat the modern-day classic and greatest war movie to date, Saving Private Ryan. So, I watched this film to see which film I would've given the Oscar to, and while I didn't think this movie was terrible, I am in the camp of people who think that the grand prize should've gone to Saving Private Ryan.

                   Shakespeare In Love is a fictional telling of the making of the famous tragedy Romeo & Juliet and depicts William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) suffering from writer's block. But when he meets a bride-to-be and aspiring actress named Viola De Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow), who tries to make it on stage by pretending to be a man since women are banned from the stage, and falls in love with her, he becomes inspired to write his most famous play ever.

                    What I Liked About It:
                   If there is anything I liked about this movie, there is Judi Dench's short-but-brief performance as Queen Elizabeth I. Even though she was on screen for about 6 to 8 minutes, she is the one actress that steals the show from her co-stars. I also liked how the doomed romance between Will and Viola was almost a parallel to Romeo & Juliet and serves as an inspiration to the story. Plus, there are plenty of nods to Shakespeare's other work as well, even if they didn't add much to the story.

                   What I Didn't Like About It:
                  Now, what I didn't like about the film: The film tends to get very slow, I found the film to be almost void of humor, and Gwyneth Paltrow wasn't given much to do other than stand around in her beauty and show off her glowing smile, but that's more on how her character was written than her actual performance. Plus, in the scenes where Viola is with Will and she is pretending to be a man, I found it pretty hard to believe that Will didn't recognize that it was her.

                 Overall, Shakespeare In Love is an inventive yet humorless romantic film which doesn't have much charm. It does have its fair share of good things, but the film is far from perfect. I definitely don't think the film is horrible, by any means, but I don't fully understand the high adulation that it received.

Rating: 2.5/5