A daughter of the powerful Duke must show her courage and inventiveness to be with the man she loves.A daughter of the powerful Duke must show her courage and inventiveness to be with the man she loves.A daughter of the powerful Duke must show her courage and inventiveness to be with the man she loves.
The female main characters, Rosalind, Celia, Phebe and Audrey, are all immensely good, effortlessly throwing around both unbridled enthusiasm and unwavering character acting. In fact, Celia is near to outshining Rosalind; only her obviously bleached hair detracts from her charm.
The male characters are, sadly, far less distinctive, with the exception of Alfred Molina's Touchstone, who's delightfully silly - almost too much so. Kevin Kline's Jacques is not bad either, but he doesn't really steal the limelight to any great extent, the way he perhaps should. In a production as colorful as this one, Jacques greyness gets a bit lost.
(Edit: I will say that this version gains from repeated viewings. It is a great modern adaptation of Shakespeare's perhaps most joyous comedy.)
I did feel that a lot of the original text was missing, and this, as is so often the case with Shakespeare movies, is this production's worst shortcoming. Not enough of the delightful Rosalind rhymes which almost define the play ("Winter garments must be lined / So must slender Rosalind") are included, which is a grave, grave error in disposition. If this play was often made into movies, that judgment might be justified, but since the play is adapted so rarely, it cannot be.
The overall filming and cinematography are excellent, however, with plentiful gentle camera movement and many close-ups, focusing admirably on the strong emotions exchanged between the characters, and the language is fluid as well as florid, spoken in a very modern, sometimes even casual, tone, as we have come to expect from Branagh's very accessible Shakespeare films.
We are many who wonder why this film has not received a wide cinematic release. It has been shown only on a few film festivals, and this January it will be out on DVD, at least in Italy. Is it going straight to DVD without a run in international theaters? Why?? Is it really seen to be so obscure and uncommercial that no distribution company will commit to it? If so, distributors should be ashamed.
My rating: 9 out of 10.
- Dec 8, 2006