Saturday, 19 November 2016

SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE (film) was disappointing

Cast: Gwyneth Paltrow; Joseph Fiennes; Judi Dench; Ben Affleck; Colin Firth; Tom Wilkinson; Geoffrey Rush; Imelda Staunton. 
Year: 1998.
Director: John Madden.
Content Rating: R for sexuality. There are a few rather graphic sex scenes, and plenty of innuendo. 
Source: Bought.

A young Shakespeare, out of ideas and short of cash, meets his ideal woman and is inspired to write one of his most famous plays.

I was expecting Shakespeare in Love to make me go WOW. It was an okay movie, but I definitely did not say wow. 

Put mildly, this film did very well at the Oscars. And perhaps as a result, many years after, I was expecting to see just how amazing it was. 
I feel daunted to write this review. Isn't that always the case when all the critics love it, give it glowing reviews, and yet you feeling less than ecstatic about its brilliance?   


The cast was brilliant. So, so many great names. Judi Dench was inevitably excellent as Queen Elizabeth and gave such a rewarding performance; every one of her scenes absolutely delighted me, simply because of her stellar delivery of lines and constant characterisation.   
Gwyneth Paltrow was charming and solid as Viola; winning my heart heart and making me 'feel good', as her performances always do. 
Personally, I did not like Joseph Fiennes' performance. I found him annoying and over reactive, and his love-struck stares at Paltrow's Viola were dangerously bordering on melodrama and overacting. 
I was not charmed by his Shakespeare.  
There was terrific chemistry between everyone in the film. They all acted well off each other and were all in sync.  


Thanks to Imelda Staunton and Geoffrey Rush, there were some very humorous parts; one that actually made me laugh out loud. 
The story had a good backbone, but many of the 'filling-in'/middle scenes were random and unnecessary; especially the part where Shakespeare supposedly dies...that felt totally random and basically just a scene filler.  
I really liked how the whole 'women-aren't-allowed-to-be-on-stage' theme was portrayed. It was resounding, and Paltrow's Viola made a strong case for the injustices of the period as well as giving quite a strong, and surprising, feminist attitude. This theme personally resonated better with me than the romance did.  
There is insta-love, but that's to be expected I guess. This is Shakespeare after all, so if you don't mind love-struck stares and dramatic declarations of adoring devotion after the two leads have barely met each other, then that shouldn't bother you.     

The time period was very well portrayed. The sets were atmospheric and rich, and the costumes fitting to the time period as well as satisfying to the modern eye. 

It was a good movie, but it wasn't a great movie.

I give it: 3 flowers! 


  1. It's so cool that you do this, Amy! It's awesome! I think I'm going to start using your site when looking for a good movie to watch... ;)

    1. Aw thank you for the sweet comment, Audrey! I hope you find some good movies :)

  2. For me, I really enjoyed this movie. It was memorable. I still think about it from time to time.
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review
    Follow me on Bloglovin'

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it :) I was really disappointed, but I wish I'd liked it.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I'd never heard of or seen this movie! I like the idea of telling Shakespeare's story, but I think I'd pass on this one. :D

    Have a great weekend!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. Yeah, I wouldn't recommend it :(
      Thanks, you too!


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