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Shakespeare in Love (1998)

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A young Shakespeare, out of ideas and short of cash, meets his ideal woman and is inspired to write one of his most famous plays.

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2,002 ( 9)
Won 7 Oscars. Another 56 wins & 86 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Tim McMullan ...
Frees (as Tim McMullen)
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Steven Beard ...
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Patrick Barlow ...
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Sandra Reinton ...
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Bridget McConnell ...
Lady in Waiting (as Bridget McConnel)
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Lady in Waiting
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Storyline

Will Shakespeare is a known but struggling poet, playwright and actor who not only has sold his next play to both Philip Henslow and Richard Burbidge but now faces a far more difficult problem: he is bereft of ideas and has yet to begin writing. He is in search of his muse, the woman who will inspire him but all attempts fail him until he meets the beautiful Viola de Lesseps. She loves the theatre and would like nothing more than to take to the stage but is forbidden from doing so as only men can be actors. She is also a great admirer of Shakespeare's works. Dressing as a man and going by the name of Thomas Kent, she auditions and is ideal for a part in his next play. Shakespeare soon sees through her disguise and they begin a love affair, one they know cannot end happily for them as he is already married and she has been promised to the dour Lord Wessex. As the company rehearses his new play, Will and Viola's love is transferred to the written page leading to the masterpiece that is ... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

...A Comedy About the Greatest Love Story Almost Never Told... See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 January 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shakespeare apasionado  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$224,012 (USA) (11 December 1998)

Gross:

$100,241,322 (USA) (23 July 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

William Shakespeare is shown playing Romeo in "Romeo & Juliet". Although no such claim appears in most biographies of Shakespeare, he is believed to have originated other famous roles in his own plays, such as The Ghost in "Hamlet," Old Adam in "As You Like It," and Lord Berowne in "Love's Labours Lost." See more »

Goofs

William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet is generally thought to have been performed for the first time in 1595 or 1596. Shakespeare in Love has it performed in 1593, but this is part of the "secret history" which the film is "discovering". See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Philip Henslowe: [screams in pain]
Hugh Fennyman: Henslowe! Do you know what happens to a man who doesn't pay his debts? His boots catch fire!
Philip Henslowe: [screams]
Hugh Fennyman: Why do you howl when it is I who am bitten?
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in George Lucas in Love (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

The Play & the Marriage
(uncredited)
Written by Stephen Warbeck
Performed by Catherine Bott
Conducted by Nick Ingman
See more »

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User Reviews

 
'Shakespeare (rolling) in His Grave' a better title for this movie.
10 February 1999 | by (Miami, Florida) – See all my reviews

We all know the Oscars are simply about Hollywood patting themselves on the back, and nowhere is this more evident with the 13 nominations received by ‘Shakespeare in Love.' Very little originality, horrible casting for a lead part and a well-planned ruse to pass this studio pic as an art film are simply some of the factors against this movie.

The story (if we can call it that) is no more than a simple collection of lines from the Bard's plays, blended together into a weak two-hour script. Adding pieces of Shakespeare's life into the mix, they pretend to explain the origin of famous lines and stories surrounding him, such as Shakespeare's relationship with Thomas Kent, who in truth was a man (it was widely accepted that William Shakespeare was bisexual). While the movie has no basis in reality, even as a work of fiction it fails miserably.

Gwyneth Paltrow gives an unimpressing and incredibly boring performance, looking like a Cate Blanchet wannabe, pretending to sound like Emma Thompson or Kate Winslet in her role as Viola, and like Kenneth Branagh when impersonating Thomas Kent. It's understandable, considering Thompson and Branagh have defined modern Shakespearean cinema, but her performance ends up being a weak attempt at emulating the masters of the genre. Every time she appears on-screen, she simply destroys the atmosphere of Elizabethan England (an atmosphere that is thin to begin with); she is simply out of place. So was Ben Affleck, but at least he didn't talk that much.

There are a few shinning stars in the pic, though. Joseph Fiennes and Geoffrey Rush give amazing performances given the weak script they had to work with, dashing the movie with a dose of comedy and great acting that carries the story at times, but not for 2 hours.

‘Shakespeare in Love' is okay as a mass-market date movie, a pic for those that have no idea what Shakespeare's plays are all about, a pic for the Teeny-Bopper crowd, but not as an Oscar Nominated Film. On the contrary, it is a perfect example why Hollywood should stick to doing Hollywood and leave the realm of art films for those with the correct vision to bring them to life. If it's Elizabethan cinema you are after, go see ‘Elizabeth' (you'll get great performances by Joseph Fiennes and Geoffrey Rush, too!). If it's a date movie you're after, see ‘She's All That;' at least it doesn't pretend to be what it is not.


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Slightly OT - Visiting the Globe Theater! CompulsiveMovieQuoter
Is the story based on Shakespeare's life? blondie_96
Little Historical Accuracy nielw
This Can't be Said Enough livings14
The ending confused me so much jimmyr5595
I don't get it Topaz12788
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