Film Scouts Reviews

"Shakespeare in Love"

by Robin J. Schwartz

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December 8, 1998

Swordfights turn into pillow-fights. Shakespeare and his lady roll around in bed, practicing lines from what will become "Romeo and Juliet". Queen Elizabeth has a sense of humor! Anyone expecting a highbrow film won't find it here. Instead, they'll find a moving, funny, sexy tale of how impoverished, writer's-blocked Will Shakespeare falls in love and is inspired to write his most famous romance. Tom Stoppard's hand is evident in the script's clever language and movement (watch what Will does each time he sits down to write). And the cast, from Geoffrey Rush as the buffoonish theatre manager to Judi Dench as the sharp-witted monarch, are delightful. Gwyneth Paltrow may not have the broadest acting range, but her skills and beauty fit this "Juliet" quite well -- though anyone who falls for her "young man" disguise needs some serious time in gender school. Joseph Fiennes, in his second "charming rogue with a deep heart" role (Lord Dudley in "Elizabeth" being the first) proves he can more than match his brother, Ralph, in the smolder department. Now if only someone would give him a totally different character to play, we might really see his acting chops!

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