105 user 97 critic

Stage Beauty (2004)

R | | Drama | 29 October 2004 (USA)
2:25 | Trailer

Watch Now

With Prime Video

A female theatre dresser creates a stir and sparks a revolution in seventeenth century London theatre by playing Desdemona in Othello. But what will become of the male actor she once worked for and eventually replaced?



(play), (screenplay)
3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Dedication (2007)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The romantic comedy follows a misogynistic children's book author who is forced to work closely with a female illustrator instead of his long-time collaborator and only friend.

Director: Justin Theroux
Stars: Billy Crudup, Mandy Moore, Tom Wilkinson
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An exuberant, sharply satirical comedy about two parentally neglected teenagers who find the courage to believe in themselves

Director: Tony McNamara
Stars: Jordan Brooking, Ben Lee, Rose Byrne
Trust the Man (2005)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

After much drama, cheating, and trial separations, two men fight to save their respective relationships.

Director: Bart Freundlich
Stars: David Duchovny, Julianne Moore, Billy Crudup
Shopgirl (2005)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A film adaptation of Steve Martin's novel about a complex love triangle between a bored salesgirl, a wealthy businessman and an aimless young man.

Director: Anand Tucker
Stars: Steve Martin, Claire Danes, Jason Schwartzman
Drama | Thriller | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

It's All About Love is the story of two lovers and their attempts to save their relationship in a near-future world on the brink of cosmic collapse. John, and world-famous ice skating star,... See full summary »

Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Claire Danes, Sean Penn
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

The film centers on a big Polish family. Jadzia is the mother and the ruler of the Pzoniak family (she has five children). Though she's happily married to Bolek, she is also having a ... See full summary »

Director: Theresa Connelly
Stars: Claire Danes, Gabriel Byrne, Lena Olin
The Flock (2007)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

This film is about a hyper-vigilant employee of the department of public safety who, while training his young female replacement, has to track down a missing girl who he is convinced is connected to a paroled sex offender he is investigating.

Director: Wai-Keung Lau
Stars: Richard Gere, Claire Danes, KaDee Strickland
Evening (2007)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A drama exploring the romantic past and emotional present of Ann Grant and her daughters, Constance and Nina. As Ann lays dying, she remembers, and is moved to convey to her daughters, the defining moments in her life 50 years prior, when she was a young woman. Harris is the man Ann loves in the 1950s and never forgets.

Director: Lajos Koltai
Stars: Vanessa Redgrave, Toni Collette, Claire Danes
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A smart teenage girl comes of age in a small town with her self-centered parents who had her when they were teenagers.

Director: Max Mayer
Stars: Sarah Bolger, Thomas Mann, James Marsden
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

After hitting the road a man encounters characters that make him realize the importance of family.

Director: Bart Freundlich
Stars: Billy Crudup, Julianne Moore, Francie Swift
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The Amazing Trousers is a comic and Gothic tale, set in Edwardian England. The story follows Henry, a meek loser who agrees to buy a pair of red trousers from a mysterious wheel-chair bound... See full summary »

Director: William Felix Clark
Stars: David Bamber, Alice Eve, Kris Marshall
Carmen I (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Richard Eyre
Stars: Roberto Alagna, Elina Garanca


Cast overview, first billed only:
Stage Manager
Mark Letheren ...
Male Emilia / Dickie
Thomas Betterton
George Villiers II - Duke of Buckingham
Jack Kempton ...
Call Boy
Miss Frayne
Lady Meresvale
Nick Barber ...
Thomas Cockerell


Based in the 1660's of London's theaters, this film is about the rules of gender roles in theatre production, and means to change them for everyone's benefit. Ned Kynaston is the assumedly gay cross-dressing actor who has been playing female parts in plays for years, particularly Desdemona in Othello, he also has a close relationship with a member of the Royal Court, the Duke of Buckingham. One day however, the rules of only men playing women could change when aspiring actress Maria auditions as Kynaston's praised role, Desdemona, and soon enough, King Charles II decides to make the law that all female roles should be played only by women. Maria becomes a star, while Ned finds himself out of work. But after a while, Ned finds it in his nature to forgive Maria's aspiration, they may even fall in love, and Charles may proclaim women will be played by either gender. Written by Jackson Booth-Millard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


She was the first of her kind. He was the last of his.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content and language | See all certifications »



| |


Release Date:

29 October 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Belleza prohibida  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£128,035 (UK) (3 September 2004)


$776,691 (USA) (26 November 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Kate Winslet was originally offered the female lead but she pulled out shortly before filming started. See more »


The word "fan" (short for "fanatic"), meaning an enthusiastic admirer, was not used in this sense until the late eighteenth century. See more »


[Maria has just asked how men make love to men]
Ned Kynaston: Right... In the saddle.
See more »


Referenced in The Daily Show: Billy Crudup (2004) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The bad and the beautiful
20 September 2004 | by (Surrey, England) – See all my reviews

Stage Beauty is another adaptation of a play. Yawn? Well don't, because it also happens to make a highly successful transition from stage to screen thanks to the genius that is director Richard Eyre.

It tells the tale of Ned (Billy Crudup), a young actor who specialises in portraying women on stage. In a world where only men are allowed to tread the boards, Ned's "Desdemona" (from Shakespeare's Othello) is the closest thing 17th century audiences get to femininity in theatre. However, a young upstart in the form of Maria (played by Clare Danes) wants to change all that. She has a passion for drama and unfortunately the bisexual Ned. With the help of King Charles II (Rupert Everett), she may just get her wish, changing theatre forever, and hopefully pick up Ned on the way.

When thinking of the themes of the film, many people dismiss it as a clone of Shakespeare in Love. This is unfair- the film is more thought provoking, substantial and better acted than the aforementioned Oscar snaffler. It explores themes of sexuality and gender with insight and intelligence as well as telling (and, in fact enthralling us with) a love story. As previously referred to, the acting is exceptional, especially the two leads (Danes and Crudup) who shine. The supporting cast is strong too, with Richard Griffiths as a heterosexual prequel to his role in Withnail and I, Tom Wilkinson brimming with quiet intensity as Betterton and Everett hamming it up wonderfully as the King.

Even if it does end on a slightly trite note (not to give too much away, but its' "birth of method acting" shtick irritates), Stage Beauty is a funny, heart-warming and occasionally quite cerebral meditation on love and art. What more could any theatre, or film lover for that matter, want? And don't say Shakespeare In Love!

63 of 80 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
'That new ending' hazeleyes422
So....do you think Ned loves Maria in the movie? instyleprincess
One liner that made me have a laughing fit rdswords
The breast is NOT the disturbing part! Mumiemonstret
Crudup is a knockout!!!!!Best Actor Nod for sure lrpulini
problem with the death scene rsh437
Discuss Stage Beauty (2004) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: