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Shakespeare in Love (1998)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  8 January 1999 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 162,791 users   Metascore: 87/100
Reviews: 748 user | 130 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

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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Title: Shakespeare in Love (1998)

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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)
Georgie Glen ...
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 | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Love is the only inspiration 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

After initial test audiences had mixed reactions to the ending, a new version of Will and Viola's final scene was filmed in November 1998 (only weeks before release), which expanded upon the previously brief Twelfth Night projections in order to better handle their parting. In order to film the scene, Joseph Fiennes had to interrupt work on a West End play, and Gwyneth Paltrow had to be brought in from filming The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999). See more »

Goofs

The sound of the tambourine, played by William Shakespeare with the musicians at the dance where he meets Viola, continues after he has stopped playing. However, given that Will was not originally part of the music group, it is reasonable to assume that there is a second tambourinist somewhere. 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

Referenced in The Office: Gay Witch Hunt (2006) 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

 
A Terrific Film
13 December 1998 | by (Los Angeles, California) – See all my reviews

I saw a preview of this movie and it was terrific. Most period movies are long, boring, usually low-concept and often as emotionally heavy as the costumes in which the actors trudge around (Elizabeth, Wings of the Dove, The Piano, Restoration, etc...)

Well this movie was different. Don't be afraid of the word Shakespeare in the title! This movie is not a junior-high history lesson. It's light, funny, romantic, and a totally irreverent look at Elizabethan England.

The screenplay is brilliant. The best writing in a movie I've seen this year. The idea is that Shakespeare is not some grave, great poet, but a young guy trying to make his way in the theatre. He's written good plays, but nothing truly transcendent. The conceit is that an ill-fated romance--the one great true love of this life--with a beautiful, smart woman is what inspires him to write his first immortal play: Romeo and Juliet.

In this era of world-exploding actioners and cookie-cutter Adam Sandler movies, it's rare to see such a specific, ingenious, and inspired story for a film.

The best part about this movie is its sense of humor. It plays with history, takes a great man abut whom we know alomost nothing, and creates a fantasy about his life that is totally outrageous, funny and real.

Also, the movie is really romantic. The costumes are lush, the leads look great and have real chemistry together. I used to think that Gwyneth was overrated, but here she's radiant. And Joe Fiennes has an intensity and a vulnerabiliy, as well as a sense of humor, that I for one find sorely lacking in his older brother Ralph.

Needless to say, this is the best date movie of the year. Women take note: I am a red-blooded straight American male, and I loved it. Take your boyfriends to see this movie. It will make up for you forcing them to sit through The Piano.


78 of 122 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Little Historical Accuracy nielw
This Can't be Said Enough livings14
The ending confused me so much jimmyr5595
Joseph Fiennes is incredibly sexy. theschwartz18
I don't get it Topaz12788
MY FAVORITE LINE IN THE FILM. Edwardslcn
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