William Shakespeare once told us, "All the World’s a Stage" —and now his quote can be applied to his own life as it is portrayed in the recent film, Shakespeare In Love. This 1998 motion picture prospered with the creative scripting of Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman and direction of John Madden. The combined effort of these men, on top of many other elements, produced a film that can equally be enjoyed by the Shakespeare lover for its literary brilliance, or for the romantic viewer who wants to experience a passionate love story.
This movie begins in the year 1593 when there are two playhouses in London (The Curtain Theatre and The Rose Theatre) that are competing with one another for playwrights and audiences. The Rose Theatre hires Shakespeare (played by Joseph Fiennes) to write the comedy, "Romeo and Ethel the Pirate’s Daughter", in a drastic attempt to bring in some cash. William agrees to write this piece, but also offers it to the Curtain Theatre, seeing where it will be of more profit. The only trouble is, he is currently suffering a severe case of writer’s block that can only be cured by finding himself a muse.
The character of Viola (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) is first seen at The Curtain Theatre where she is captivated by the performance of Shakespeare’s "The Two Gentlemen of Verona," while the rest of the audience seems bored. She is currently being urged to marry Lord Wessex, but wants to marry for love. She wants to have real love, "love as there has never been in a play." She is inspired, however by the theatre and especially by the works of Shakespeare.
Will anxiously looks for the woman who will become his muse, and immediatel...
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... him to write the greatest love tragedy of all time, not the greatest love comedy (70)."
Shakespeare in Love is an incredible literary work that holds both truths and fantasies about Shakespeare’s life, along with a beautiful romance story. It is what David Denby calls "an exciting literary-erotic entertainment (19)." Whether one is in the mood for a romantic comedy, a Shakespeare tragedy, or just an all around excellent film, Shakespeare in Love is a great choice. The stage has your life now Mr. Shakespeare.
Bloom, Harold. Interview. "Bloom the Bardolator." By Yahlin Chang. Newsweek. February 1999: 64.
Denby, David. "The Movies." The New Yorker. January 1999: 19.
Grant, Emound, ed. The Motion Picture Guide. New York: News Am., 1999.
Stoppard, Tom. Interview "The Scene Stealers." By Elizabeth Gleick London. Time. January 1999: 70-1.
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