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flick pick | Shakespeare in Love 1998
Directed by: John Madden
Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush, Judi Dench
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under:
new releases, comedy, romance
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something:
lovey, witty

Plot synopsis Young Will Shakespeare is a frustrated poet/playwright suffering from severe writer’s block and lack of romantic inspiration, in this fictional take on the creation of Romeo and Juliet. Short on cash, he’s committed to putting together a crowd-pleaser of a play for the Rose Theater’s owner, but can’t seem to get beyond the title, Romeo and Ethel the Pirate’s Daughter. The artist’s muse arrives in the form of Viola de Lesseps, a well-bred beauty who, enamored of Shakespeare’s writing and the theatre, disguises herself as a boy and wins the role of Romeo. Will and Viola fall passionately in love, despite the fact that Viola’s position as a wealthy woman engaged to be married to a Lord named Wessex means that the relationship is, ultimately, doomed. Their love story, of course, provides the inspiration for Shakespeare’s first great play.

Review Pretty costumes, pretty sets, pretty dialogue, and two very pretty stars make for a highly entertaining, thoroughly enjoyable confection of a movie. Writer Tom Stoppard’s script provides plenty of Shakespeare-esque witty banter and fun literary/historical allusions, and the chemistry between Paltrow and Fiennes is smart, sexy and convincing. Don’t rent this movie expecting to garner any deep insights into Shakespeare or Elizabethan England – at heart this is a well-paced, funny, playfully-light romantic comedy hidden beneath period costumes and fancy words.



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