Christy ordered this on PPV this morning. I know Jean really loved it. And I guess it won best picture for its year? It was certainly nominated.
It's basically a fictional setting for the creation of Romeo and Juliet. They start off with Shakespeare hearing snippets of conversation around him which one recognizes as the source of lines that end up in the play. For example, near the beginning a priest is denouncing the Rose Theatre and he says, "The Rose, by any other name, would be as foul and full of depravity."
As most school children learn, women weren't allowed to become actors back then. Gweneth Paltrow plays a daughter of a wealthy family who wants to act, so she dresses as a boy. Shakespeare learns of her secret early in the movie, and they write the play together in her bedroom over the course of a couple of weeks.
I kind of liked how he played with the words of overheard conversations to incorporate them into Romeo and Juliet. But one problem for me was that it has been 20 years since I was supposed to read the play, and I wasn't very diligent back then. So I'm sure there were several other quotes that I didn't recognize. Most of the ones I did recognize came directly from those two.
Parts of the movie were fun. Though most of the characters were a bit too simplistic and charactitured. The theatre owner was always worried and couldn't get it through his thick head that Shakespeare wasn't writing a comedy about pirates. There were several others who were that shallow. I would have preferred seeing more like Ben Affleck's, who started out as an apparent self-absorbed jerk, yet recognized power of the play early and encouraged Shakespeare. OTOH, the queen came across as too observant and pragmatic and lenient of mistakes and subterfuge.
The love story didn't do much for me. Well, there were the love scenes :-). I guess a big part of the problem was the annoyances of Elizabethan life. They can't openly share their love because of their relative positions in English society. And she's been promised to someone else by her own father. And they can't let on that she's a woman trying to act in the theatre. All these stupid rules that get in the way. I don't understand how people can allow others to dictate their lives like that.
The chick flick love affair takes up the entire second act, and simply didn't do much for me. On my brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Cable with Dinner.
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