Shakespeare in Love beat out Saving Private Ryan as the Best Picture of 1998, as well as taking Best Actress (Gwenyth Paltrow) and Best Supporting Actress (Judi Dench), and while it doesn't have the mesmerizing power of Private Ryan, Shakespeare in Love is an excellent movie.
Joseph Fiennes, who also played a major role in another 1998 Best Picture nominee Elizabeth, stars as William Shakespeare, who delivers a superb role yet wasn't considered for an Academy Award. Gwenyth Paltrow is Lady Viola, the beautiful woman who inspires him to write "Romeo and Juliet." She too gives a brilliant performance, both off and on the stage.
The movie progresses in a fictional form of Shakespeare's life, and somewhat details "the making" of "Romeo and Juliet." Shakespeare actually gets his ideas, names, and so forth from suggestions from his actors and fellow writers. Nevertheless, he is having writer's block until he falls in love with Lady Viola, who also happens to be posing as a man to act for his play. Both comedy and tragedy ensue as people begin to find out and Lady Viola is sent to marry a nasty Duke or something.
Beautiful cinematography, extravagant costumes (which, if I recall correctly, also won an Academy Award), and terrific acting makes Shakespeare in Love a must see.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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