When a shipwreck separates siblings Viola and Sebastian in a foreign land, both think the other is dead and embarks on a series of romantic misadventures.
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Top Customer Reviews
No member disappoints and each one excels in their own right. Helena Bonham Carter, queen of period films, plays an astounding Olivia with excellent timing. Imogen Stubbs, whom I've only seen play a small role in Sense and Sensibility, exceeds all expectations set for her in the role of Viola. And Ben Kingsley (yes, Ghandi), reminds us of his Royal Shakespeare Company roots as a multi-dimensional Feste.
The score, unhappily available on CD (albeit Kingley's "The Wind and the Rain" is available on the CD collection "If Music Be the Food of Love: Shakespeare at the Movies"), is breathtaking and well-done, particularly for a play that includes so much music as a stage performance. It corrolates perfectly with the lush settings (often involving romantic sea-scapes and Victorian manor houses) and costumes.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment about this film is that it's not available on DVD. However, it alone is reason enough for me to keep my VCR.
The story centers around two twins, Viola (Imogen Stubbs in a star-making performance) and Sebastian (Stephen Makintosh), who are shipwrecked and separated at sea, each fearing the other is dead. Viola washes up on the shore of a hostile country and disguises herself in her brother's clothes to avoid capture and keep his memory alive. The other two main characters, Olivia (Helena Bonham Carter), and Orsino (Toby Stephens), are similarly troubled. Olivia mourns her own brother's recent death and Orsino suffers passionate unrequited love for Olivia, who refuses to see him.
Viola's male alter ego, Cesario, winds up in Orsino's court, becomes his best friend, and (here's the rub) romantic emissary to Olivia. What follows is a hilarious and poignant farce in which Olivia falls in love with Orsino's messenger, Cesario (Viola) who, under her disguise, is desperately in love with Orsino.Read more ›
Director Trevor Nunn set this Shakespeare play in the Victorian era, and his adaptation is overflowing with talent - Imogen Stubbs (Viola) shows herself to be a versatile actress who can brilliantly play this complex lead with ease! Also notable were Nigel Hawthorne (Malvolio), Toby Stephens (Orsino), Helena Bonham Carter (wonderful as Olivia, although I'd expected it as I've never seen her performances as anything less), Richard E. Grant (Sir Andrew Aguecheek), and Imelda Staunten (Maria) -- and Ben Kingsley (the fool, Feste) did such a magnificent job - and, incidently, he sings superbly - he would easily have stolen the show if it weren't for the flawless performances of the entire cast!
I had to give it four stars instead of five because it was very hard to follow what was being spoken much of the time. I actually had to pull out my "Riverside Shakespeare" to follow what was being said. Much of this movie is verbatim directly from the play itself - which I must say endears it further into my heart.
In the midst of a summer where, at least here in my little realm of the earth, it "raineth every day," a movie such as this eases the doldrums. This movie is a delight!
Imogen Stubbs is a delightful (and plausibly male) Viola, disguised as Cesario, who must act as a go-between for Orsino (an incredibly handsome Toby Stephens) and Olivia (Helena Bonham-Carter, who looks as if she has stepped out of a pre-Raphaelite painting). The scenes between Viola and Orsino, as she is falling in love with him and he is most definitely attracted to his young "man" and emissary, are fraught with a palpable sexual tension (A similar dynamic may well have been present in the original production when the audience knew that a boy was playing the part of a girl playing the part of a boy. Trevor Nunn conveys the ambiguity of gender with subtle artistry). Viola and her twin brother Sebastian look reasonably enough alike so that the audience can easily suspend its disbelief and, along with the characters, enjoy the confusion of "Which one is Sebastian?."
The production is reinforced by an ensemble cast.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a very well-made and entertaining movie. A few years ago I taught a little Shakespeare at a private school, and this Twelfth Night video was great because the edgy subject... Read morePublished 1 day ago by Albert Semelmann
One of my favorite Shakespeare renditions, the twins look amazingly alike. Great actors, and good musical score as well!Published 5 days ago by susan dittrich
As a motion picture, this is forgettable. As "Shakespeare on screen" it is lamentable, as probably only 40% of the text of the play is included. Read morePublished 11 days ago by A. Carmack
Much Ado About Nothing is my favorite, with Twelth Night a close second.Published 13 days ago by Jamp
I LOVE this movie! I'm a big Shakespeare fan, and 12th Night is my all time favorite Shakespeare comedy. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Mistaken Missive
One of my favorite films. Love this play. The movie does the screen play justice to a point. The ending is so campy. Over look that and you will get a laugh or two.Published 2 months ago by M. L. Igielski
This film interpretation is just lovely--and unexpectedly moving. I've used this film in class while reading the Shakespearean text with high school students with great success. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Cynthia Bazinet
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