I actually like Shakespeare now because of this film.
What if a penniless William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) fell in love with a noblewoman (Oscar-winner Gwyneth Paltrow) while struggling to write a comedy with the unlikely title “Romeo and Ethel the Sea Pirate’s Daughter?” Might the emotional turmoil inspire him to recraft the play into a tragedy with a more familiar-sounding name?
I mostly heard of this film before, because at the 1998 Oscars it beat out one of my favorite movies of all-time, Saving Private Ryan, for a the Best Picture Oscar. I was ready to see this film and tear it apart because I thought it was bogus that this ended up winning. But now that I’ve seen this I don’t know who deserved to win.
This is a wonderful film in all ways possible. Director John Madden really does create this vibrant fun new world filled with love literature, and most of all Shakespeare. Most of the characters and the events that happen are mostly fictional, but Madden does such a great job at showing how it all comes together at the end, and you have a great blend of mixing fiction with reality.
The most props of this film have to go to the screenplay. Throughout the whole film, I was so taken away by the wit of all these jokes and I liked how the olde english language was there but still made for the “modern” ear to understand. Though there is a lot of seriousness I felt there was also a lot of wonderful comedy that really did brighten up the tone and make this film a lot more enjoyable.
The most beautiful thing about this film really does come from the romance between Viola and Shakespeare which is really what the film is centered on. It feels and looks real, as you can see what really happens to a person when they fall in love and where the inspiration of it lies within Shakespeare’s work.
Gwyneth Paltrow turns in a magnificent Oscar-winning performance as Viola, as she shows a lot of depth of what seemed like a one-note character, and really does stay on top with the rest of these characters on screen. The whole cast does a great job but I feel like the one that really does the best job and doesn’t get any credit for it is Joseph Fiennes. If there is anyone in the world I wanted to meet it was Shakespeare, and Fiennes plays this person we already know and allow him to have more excitement and boldness added to his character, so that we cheer and love him even more.
The only problem I had with this film was very minor and that it didn’t feature much of the play itself and focused more on the romance. I wanted to know more of what happened behind the scenes of one of the most famous plays of all-time, and I didn’t get that much of it.
Consensus: One of the most delightfully charming romantic comedies of all time. With a clever script, wonderful acting, and perfect direction, Shakespeare In Love hits the spot on every level.