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Twelfth Night or What You Will (1996)

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Shakespeare's comedy of gender confusion, in which a girl disguises herself as a man to be near the count she adores, only to be pursued by the woman he loves.

Director:

Trevor Nunn

Writers:

William Shakespeare (by), Trevor Nunn (screenplay)
Reviews
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Imogen Stubbs ... Viola
Steven Mackintosh ... Sebastian
Nicholas Farrell ... Antonio
Sidney Livingstone Sidney Livingstone ... Captain (as Sid Livingstone)
Ben Kingsley ... Feste
James Walker James Walker ... Priest
Helena Bonham Carter ... Olivia
Nigel Hawthorne ... Malvolio
Mel Smith ... Sir Toby Belch
Imelda Staunton ... Maria
Toby Stephens ... Orsino
Alan Mitchell Alan Mitchell ... Valentine
Peter Gunn ... Fabian
Richard E. Grant ... Sir Andrew Aguecheek
Tim Bentinck ... First Officer
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Storyline

Brother and sister Viola and Sebastian, who are not only very close but look a great deal alike, are in a shipwreck, and both think the other dead. When she lands in a foreign country, Viola dresses as her brother and adopts the name Cesario, becoming a trusted friend and confidante to the Count Orsino. Orsino is madly in love with the lady Olivia, who is in mourning due to her brother's recent death, which she uses as an excuse to avoid seeing the count, whom she does not love. He sends Cesario to do his wooing, and Olivia falls in love with the disguised maiden. Things get more complicated in this bittersweet Shakespeare comedy when a moronic nobleman, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, and a self-important servant, Malvolio, get caught up in the schemes of Olivia's uncle, the obese, alcoholic Sir Toby, who leads each to believe Olivia loves him. As well, Sebastian surfaces in the area, and of course there is Feste, the wise fool, around to keep everything in perspective and to marvel, like we ... Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Before Priscilla crossed the desert, Wong Foo met Julie Newmar, and the Birdcage was unlocked, there was... See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Ireland | UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 October 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Twelfth Night See more »

Filming Locations:

England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$33,451, 27 October 1996

Gross USA:

$588,621

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$588,621
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby SR

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The cast includes one Oscar winner: Sir Ben Kingsley; and four Oscar nominees: Sir Nigel Hawthorne, Helena Bonham Carter, Imelda Staunton and Richard E. Grant. See more »

Goofs

Feste's guitar playing for Cesario (Viola) and Orsino does not match up with the soundtrack. See more »

Quotes

Feste: Good madonna, why mournest thou?
Olivia: Good fool, for my brother's death.
Feste: I think his soul is in hell, madonna.
Olivia: I know his soul is in heaven, fool.
Feste: The more fool, madonna, to mourn for your brother's soul being in heaven.
See more »

Connections

Version of Macbeth (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

O Mistress Mine
Music by Shaun Davey
Words by William Shakespeare
Sung by Ben Kingsley
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent
29 May 2003 | by henry-girlingSee all my reviews

Reading other reviews of 'Twelfth Night' it is interesting to see that some people think it is a slow film and others quite fast. It gripped me from the opening gust of rain on a dark night to Feste dancing off into the sunset. Grappling with Shakespeare is a perilous activity but I thought Trevor Nunn brought out the comedy and the emotions of the story well. It is a film to make you smile at the follies of mankind but also their charm.

Ben Kingsley is amazing. I've never seen Feste played that way but it seemed perfect. Imogen Stubbs does the comedy and the drama equally well. The scene with Orsino in the bathtub is a stock one but she does it beautifully, balancing the humour of the situation with the tenderness and the longing. Imelda Staunton brings unusual depth to the character of Maria. The rest of the cast are great too.

The text of the play is changed around but not unnaturally so. The scene that cuts between Feste's song and Viola/Cesario and Orsino playing cards is wonderful, taking in eight of the characters and telling you more about them. The last act of the play is difficult to stage well but Nunn gives it a good shot.

The Cornwall setting is lovely, the radiant sunshine, the green leaves and fine buildings are captured gorgeously by the cameras. I also liked the music very much and find some of the tunes quite hummable.

Very enjoyable and worth seeing again and again.


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