Much Ado About Nothing (1993)

Crazy times with Shakespeare.

Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson star as Benedick and Beatrice, two marriage-phobic rivals in Florence, Italy, in a lively plot involving complications, pranks and peerless wordplay. This must be Shakespeare! Hero (Kate Beckinsale) and Claudio (Robert Sean Leonard) try to hook up the two B’s despite tenacious resistance.

Personally I don’t really care that much for Shakespeare adaptations, and to be truly honest I find them to be very boring and bland, but not this one.

Branagh directs this film as well and shows that he can really direct a film, and well. He has such a love for these stories of all these characters, and it really does come out onto the screen. I also found this to be actually a lot more exuberant than other adaptations, and adding a lot more energy to bland comedies can really work, if given the right direction.

Much Ado doesn’t really ever have a upset face throughout, I found it a lot more cheerful than I would’ve expected. I don’t think you have to like Shakespeare a lot to really like this film, but if you are not familiar with the old English language than this may be a bit of a stretch.

The problems I had with this film was that it just wasn’t too compelling or attaching for me. Although I did like the comedy in this film, I didn’t really find myself laughing as much cause I just felt that Branagh’s way of directing was just to make this film as goofy as can be. Though the performances are good I just felt like these actors were just saying these words and I didn’t quite believe these characters as much as I thought I would.

Branagh creates a perfect ensemble, though some fall short from others. Branagh goes out on a limb casting stars that aren’t well known Shakespeareans, but they do well anyway. Emma Thompson and Branagh actually do have great chemistry in this film and it actually does feel real, probably because at this time they were married. But I really didn’t understand the casting of Keanu Reeves and Michael Keaton. Reeves is cheesing it up as usual and doesn’t add anything to this film, other than cheap one-liners, and Keaton’s character I don’t think was even needed, and what did he actually do for this story anyway?

Consensus: Branagh’s great love for this story mixed with some great set pieces make Much Ado lovable, but just some of it seems to silly and not very interesting as a whole.


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