Watch the Bard Week – Shakespeare in Love

Shakespeare in Love is currently available on instant Netflix

One-Line Review: Overrated by the Academy, Shakespeare in Love is still quite good.

Shakespeare in LoveShakespeare in Love (1998) – Rated R

Young Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) is forced to stage his latest comedy, “Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter,” before it’s even written. When a lovely noblewoman (Gwyneth Paltrow) auditions for a role, they fall into forbidden love — and his play finds a new life (and title). As their relationship progresses, Shakespeare’s comedy soon transforms into tragedy. This bittersweet romance won seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actress.”

While Shakespeare in Love may not have deserved all of the accolades it received, it is undeniably good. Shakespeare in Love won seven Oscars and was nominated for six others. Gwyneth Paltrow took home the gold as the romantic lead as did Judi Dench as Queen Elizabeth. Geoffrey Rush was delightful as Philip Henslowe and received a nomination but had to content himself with his statue for Shine.

Joseph Fiennes (Ralph’s brother) is the titular Shakespeare. Future Oscar Winner Colin Firth plays Lord Wessex. Ben Affleck plays Ned Alleyn. An uncredited Rupert Everett is Christopher Marlowe.

The greatest feat Shakespeare in Love pulls off is how neatly everything fits together and most of the credit must go to the writers. The movie was written by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard. They won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Stoppard had previously dabbled in Shakespeare when he wrote Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead.

While Shakespeare in Love is a lot of fun, I thought that year’s Elizabeth and Saving Private Ryan were much more serious and, more importantly, better films but second-guessing the Oscars is a national pastime.

People Watch: Once again look for a younger Jim Carter (Downton Abbey’s Mr. Carson), this time as Ralph Bashford.