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
The boatman who rows William Shakespeare says, "I had that Christopher Marlowe in my boat once." This is a reference to the stereotypical remark of London taxi drivers about their famous customers: "I had that [famous name] in the back of my cab once." See more »
In the opening scene, Mr. Fennyman (Tom Wilkinson) and his henchmen Mr. Frees (Tim McMullan) and Lambert (Steven O'Donnell) are torturing Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush) due to an unpaid debt. Henslowe offers to cut Fennyman in on the profits from a new play by William Shakespeare. We hear Lambert, off-camera, say, "I think I've seen it," but it appears the on-camera Mr. Frees is actually mouthing the words. The shot then cuts to Lambert, who says on-camera, "I didn't like it." See more »
Impressive spin on Shakespeare, with a contemporary feel
Tom Stoppard, who penned Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, knows a thing or two about the modern deconstruction and reconstruction of Shakespeare's work -- and it shows in the bright and vivid Shakespeare in Love, which Stoppard co-wrote with Marc Norman. Applying many of the same conventions favored by Shakespeare in his own work (including primarily the confusion over mistaken identity and gender) the screenwriters begin with the "what if" premise and run with it, speculating with wicked delight on the Bard's rivalry with Christopher Marlowe, his use of overheard phrases finding their way into his plays, and best of all, the possible sources of his inspiration. Will's muse is Violet, played wonderfully by Gwyneth Paltrow, who shows off in this film her finest acting to date and credibly pulls off the tricky task of being both an object of poetic inspiration and a genuine, down-to-earth human being.
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