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Shakespeare in Love (1999)

Gwyneth Paltrow , Joseph Fiennes , John Madden  |  R |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (778 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush, Tom Wilkinson, Steven O'Donnell
  • Directors: John Madden
  • Writers: Marc Norman, Tom Stoppard
  • Producers: Bob Weinstein, David Parfitt, Donna Gigliotti, Edward Zwick, Harvey Weinstein
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Walt Disney Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 10, 1999
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (778 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000JGOH
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,294 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Shakespeare in Love" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

One of the most winning and intelligent romantic comedies of the '90s, Shakespeare in Love is filled with such good will, sunny romance, snappy one-liners, and devilish cleverness that it's absolutely irresistible. At the 1999 Academy Awards, this dark-horse costume comedy sneaked off with seven Oscars, besting the highly favored Saving Private Ryan for Best Picture. With tongue placed firmly in cheek, at its outset the film tracks young Will Shakespeare's overwrought battle with writer's block and the efforts of theater owner Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush, in rare form) to stage Will's latest comedy, Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter. Most of the jokes in the first one-third of the film are along these lines: Will's anachronistic therapist session, a mug inscribed "A Souvenir from Stratford-Upon-Avon," Henslowe's battles to pay off his debts, and the backstage high jinks of pre-production. However, once Will sets his eyes on the beautiful Viola De Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow), joking takes a backseat to ravishing romance. Well, almost--turns out Viola wants to break into the world of male-only theater, and disguises herself as a young man to wangle herself an audition. She wins the part of Romeo and, after much misunderstanding, the playwright's heart. Soon enough, Will's pirate comedy becomes a beautiful, tragic romance, and Ethel is shoved aside for a woman named Juliet. Will and Viola's romance, however, is equal parts comedy and tragedy--he's married, and she's betrothed to the slimy Lord Wessex (Colin Firth), and it doesn't take an English major to figure out that it's not all's well that ends well.

Like Shakespeare's work itself, the film is instantly accessible to everyone, from the raucous groundlings looking for low comedy to the aesthetes hankering for some intellectual bite behind their entertainment. The way that Oscar-winning screenwriters Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard enfold their story within the parameters of Romeo and Juliet (and even Twelfth Night) is nothing short of brilliant--it would take a Shakespearean scholar to dissect the innumerable parallels, oft-quoted lines, plot developments, and thematic borrowings. And most amazingly, Norman and Stoppard haven't forgotten to entertain their audience in addition to riding a Shakespearean roller coaster. Director John Madden (Mrs. Brown) reigns in his huge ensemble with a rollicking energy that keeps the film's momentum going at top speed for its entire two hours. Along the way there are small gems to be found: Ben Affleck's riotous egotistical actor, Imelda Staunton's nimble nurse, and of course Judi Dench's eight-minute, Oscar-winning turn as a truly regal Queen Elizabeth. However, the key element of Shakespeare in Love's success rests on the milky-white shoulders of its two stars. Fiennes, inexplicably overlooked at Oscar time, is a dashing Will as we might expect him at the early stage of his career, bundled full of comedy and tragedy but unsure of how to harness his talent. And as for Best Actress winner Paltrow... well, nothing she'd done before could have prepared viewers for how amazing she is here. Breathtakingly beautiful, fiercely intelligent, strong-willed, and lovestruck--it's a performance worthy of Shakespeare in more ways than one. By the film's end, you'll be thoroughly won over--and brushing up your Shakespeare with newfound ardor. --Mark Englehart

Product Description

Shakespeare In Love

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
69 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A golden film January 8, 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Shakespeare in Love is a film for anyone who loves art and literature
with a passion. Aside from being a beautiful love story, the film
itself is a "love letter" to the arts. I can only describe
it as a "golden" film, because that's what I think of when I
picture scenes from the movie...pure gold. I love Shakespeare, and
the brilliant screenplay manages to make a flesh and blood person out
of such an enigmatic historical figure - it may not be real, but it's
a lot of fun nonetheless. The acting is superb - Gwyneth Paltrow is
glorious, Judi Dench is fabulous, Geoffrey Rush is hilarious, and
Joseph Fiennes is the hottest thing to come along since his older
brother! I love the ending especially - Twelfth Night is my favorite
Shakespearean play, and the last line just speaks volumes: "For
she will be my heroine for all time, and her name will be Viola."
Perhaps the best thing about the film is the way it blends comedy and
tragedy together in such a bittersweet way.
One final note: I too
was surprised that this film won Best Picture, because I also loved
Saving Private Ryan. Both films were cinematic masterpieces of very
different kinds, and both were equally worthy. I'm glad the Academy
shook things up a little.bfounded while the final credits rolled. Marc
Norman and Tom Stoppard must have loved their subject matter,
researched the period with zeal as well as having the ability to
create a moving romantic drama.

The whole thing was created
out of the barest glimmer of fact concerning Shakespeare's life. It
focuses on the gap between his marriage in London as a young man and
his eventual return to London as a successful playwright.
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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, intelligent, irreverent March 6, 2003
Format:DVD
I honestly did not know what to expect when I first sat down to watch "Shakespeare In Love." Perhaps that was for the best, since this film teems with unexpected moments and twists, turning literary history upside down and giving it a clever and bawdy twist.
Gywenth Paltrow plays a young noblewoman who is expected to be demurely betrothed, but who wants none of the life ahead of her. She yearns for the theater, and, in her headstrong, ambitious drive, dresses like a boy to obtain a part in Will Shakespeare's newest drama. Of course, the two fall in love (hence the title!) and their duplicity leads to plot complications that get more and more outrageous. Literary jokes abound, but you don't need to know a whit about Shakespeare to enjoy this romp. This is a romantic comedy cloaked in Elizabethian times, an anachronism that is thoroughly satisfying.
Paltrow's Viola is gutsy, intelligent, and torn, a portrayal that deservedly earned her an Oscar. Joseph Fiennes makes a lovable, bumbling Will Shakespeare. The two display a chemistry that brings the witty script to life and elevates this film to a level above most romantic comedies.
This film should appeal to a wide range of viewers - even those who hated studying Shakespeare in school.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bard would be pleased, methinks June 14, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
This is the kind of movie the Academy loves and through its love, rewards.
The script by Stoppard and Norman is erudite and cunning, passionate and playful, filled with witticisms by and about the Bard; and the parallels to Shakespeare and his work, especially the play within a play, Romeo and Juliet, and the play to come, Twelfth Night, are marvelous and a bit miraculous. The romantic direction by Madden conjures up an Elizabethan England and its London theatre with enough lusty color to delight the poet himself. The acting is wonderful with Gwyneth Paltrow conquering a very demanding and delightful four-part role as Viola/Tom Kent, and on the stage as first Romeo and then as Juliet! Joseph Fiennes as the young Shakespeare writing his Romeo and Juliet on the fly, fired with the energy from his adulterous love for the lovely Viola, is better than advertised.
Of course what would a Shakespearean play or a great Hollywood movie be without its bit players and supporting roles? Judi Dench as the queen in her Academy Award winning performance gives the impression of somebody doing something marvelously well but with such ease as to look unemployed. (I stole that line from somewhere.)
From the gutter snipe with his rodents to the queen's bad teeth, from Colin Firth's delightfully villainous Lord Wessex to Geoffrey Rush's wise, but bumbling stage manager, from the tavern trollops to the gentry at the ball (in which the sonnet within a play from Romeo and Juliet is once again given life by Fiennes and Paltrow) everything is expertly presented. You don't have to be a Shakespearean buff to appreciate this resplendent romantic comedy, but if you are, your experience will be enhanced.
This is Hollywood at its best. For all the clunkers and the mass-mindless indulgences that are the usual fare-tinsel town, you are forgiven!
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52 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will Shakespeare At His Best November 24, 1999
Format:DVD
This movie really hit home for me. I just sat there in awe of the acting, the way the story unfolded. It totally engrossed me. I saw it three times at the movies and could have easily gone to see it again and again. When it won so many Academy Awards, I wasn't surprised except I thought Saving Private Ryan should have won Best Picture. I also felt that Tom Wilkinson didn't get the praise he deserved. His performance was, as usual for Tom, understated and perfect. I thought he should have been nominated instead of Geoffrey Rush, for best supporting actor, and I'm an aussie.
I also felt Joseph Fiennes should have got a Best Actor gong. Gwyneth was great but Joseph's performance of Will was exceptional to say the least.
The highlights for me were the unfolding of the two stories, (Romeo and Juliet & Will and Viola). Then the actual performance of Romeo and Juliet and the intertwining tragedy of Will and Viola. The way the audience reacted at the end said it all.
I think that 'Shakespeare In Love' is mainly a movie that females thoroughly love. The males in my circle of friends and family didn't quite GET IT so to speak.
Also deserving of mention were Colin Firth and the actor with the the stutter, which miraculously disappeared at the start of the play.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful "well it could have been like that" one
A wonderful "well it could have been like that" one. The flavor of the times was so well done. I would recommend this to everyone.
Published 8 days ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars All time fave
I've loved this movie for many years. The perfect combination of comedy, romance and tragedy. I could watch this movie over and over and over. Well, I have, actually...
Published 16 days ago by J. Cowan
5.0 out of 5 stars Bard inspired through love, pain and merriment!
This gem of a movie, for anyone who hasn't seen it, catapulted Gwenyth Paltrow to the public's attention on the strength of her double performances as a young lady bretrothed to a... Read more
Published 19 days ago by MysticMuse61
4.0 out of 5 stars Love at its best
Shakespeare in Love is a film for anyone who loves art and literature with a passion. While I watched the movie I realized it wasn't supposed to be a serious movie because there... Read more
Published 19 days ago by Levitate107
4.0 out of 5 stars fun, light entertainment
This movie is very cute. Although it doesn't have a deep and complex plot, it is definitely entertaining. Very cleverly done.
Published 28 days ago by Hannah Kiem
5.0 out of 5 stars Great romantic comedy
Shakespeare in Love is a family favorite. Comedy, action (theater-style), and romance, all wrapped around a clever imagining of the writing of one of the Bard's classic plays. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Dave BL
5.0 out of 5 stars worthy of the bard
bawdy, brilliant, and beautiful, i was captured by the whole piece and cannot shake the amazing work and magic that came out of it.
Published 1 month ago by will crow
5.0 out of 5 stars Love love love
I absolutely loved this movie, I can't believe I waited so long to see it! I wonder how true it is...
Published 1 month ago by christina fennell
5.0 out of 5 stars one of my favorite
I remember watching this years ago in the theatre and it brings back such good memories. I love both main characters and the acting.
Published 1 month ago by Eileen
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Victorian era romantic comedy
Easily one of the best movies ever made. The setting is true to Shakespearean era London. The script is intelligent and westernized to appeal to a global audience, acted by a cast... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Daniel S.
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