Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Shakespeare in Love
For starters, there is the script by Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman. Although historically inaccurate (several of the lines refer to events that would occur about two hundred years later), it's laced with witty remarks and passionate romance. (I couldn't help but laugh at an early scene where Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) describes his writer's block and it temporarily gets mistaken as troubles in the bedroom.) That's usually something I look for in a script.
The second thing is the acting. Loaded with a number of respectable names, they all play their parts well. Gwyneth Paltrow, Geoffrey Rush and Judi Dench may have gotten Oscar's attention (Paltrow and Dench proving themselves victorious), but my attention went to Fiennes. His sorrow, his desires, his guilt, all play across his face. That's what acting should be like. (I was also amused by Ben Affleck as an actor who thinks he's God's gift to theater.)
The smaller aspects of Shakespeare in Love work wonders. The costumes by Sandy Powell are just gorgeous. Same could be said for Stephen Warbeck's score, which, like the script, balances out humor and romance. You have to admire a film with good technical aspects and it's not a big budget production.
If you think I'm softening up to a pariah among the Best Picture winners, think again. Yes, I did just sang my praises for it, but it doesn't mean I loved it. In short, did it deserve to win over Saving Private Ryan? Nope. (Damn it, Weinstein!)
My Rating: ****1/2