|DVD Box Art|
There are quite a few actors and actresses in Shakespeare in Love that you might find in other period dramas:
|Actor/Actress||Character||Also Seen In|
|Geoffrey Rush||Phillip Henslowe||The King's Speech as Lionel Logue|
|Tom Wilkinson||Hugh Fennyman||Sense and Sensibility (1995) as Henry Dashwood|
|Judi Dench||Queen Elizabeth I||Cranford and Return to Cranford as Miss Matty Jenkyns|
|Gwyneth Paltrow||Viola De Lesseps||Emma (1996) as Emma Woodhouse|
|Imelda Staunton||Nurse||Sense and Sensibility (1995) as Mrs. Palmer, Cranford as Miss Pole|
|Colin Firth||Lord Wessex||Pride and Prejudice (1995) as Mr. Darcy|
|Jim Carter||Ralph Bashford||Downton Abbey as Mr. Charles Carson|
|Gwyneth Paltrow as Viola De Lesseps as Thomas Kent|
(confusing enough for you?)
|Gwyneth Paltrow as Viola and Joseph Fiennes as |
Viola I couldn't really care much for. I found her overly romantic and focused too much on her emotions instead of what she should have been doing. Really, if you examine her moral character, she knows that she is doing wrong (especially after she finds out that Will is actually married), yet she continues on with him. Probably her only good quality is that she was pretty (but I'll discuss this more later), but her personality was severely lacking: either she was too naive and plunged head-first into her relationship with Will or she ignored all the morality she was (presumably) taught and did what she wanted anyway.
|Jim Carter as Ralph Bashford (left)|
|Viola De Lesseps at a dance|
The scenery is very nice in Shakespeare in Love. While there are a number of lovely scenes around Viola's home that exhibit lots of color and greenery, there are some scenes in the city around the playhouses that are more gritty and not as nice. The theater that Shakespeare works in (I'm assuming that it's the Globe Theater?) is explored in detail so you can see the ins-and-outs of the theater whether it be behind the scenes or in the audience.
I cannot claim to be an expert on Elizabethan fashion, but I didn't see anything in the costuming of Shakespeare in Love that screamed inaccurate. No, as far as I could tell, everything looked okay... from appearances.
|Colin Firth (left) as Lord Wessex|
But besides that, the ladies costuming was very lovely for the most part. If there wasn't anything else good in Viola's character, at least I could say that she did look very nice indeed! She had a large amount of nice dresses, but I wasn't too sure about her hair; often, Viola's hair was left down when my understanding of most historical eras is that women put their hair up. If anyone has any information on this, feel free to leave a comment. But for her hair, I found it hard to believe that she managed to put all that hair under the wig that she was wearing as Thomas Kent; maybe if it was a wig that had more volume in it, maybe, but not like the one that she was wearing.
|Judi Dench as Queen Elizabeth I.|
The person I thought was the worst dressed in the entire movie was Queen Elizabeth. I like Judi Dench, I really do, but she just looked awful in this movie. Her hair didn't look right at all: it looked like it was a bad wig placed on a head that was completely bald (I know the portraits of Queen Elizabeth show her with a wide forehead, but this just didn't look right at all). Her make-up was done in such as way that could not flatter her at all and plus her clothes were too much.
I'm not quite sure why everyone made such a big deal out of this movie. I know it got awards... but why? Surely there were better movies out in 1999? While the costuming and scenery were nice in Shakespeare in Love, the rest of the movie isn't good (though I've joked that I only watched this movie because of Colin Firth). The entire movie was pretty much an attempt at a biopic that was all fictional. Maybe if the movie was about fictional characters, it wouldn't have been as bad on that front, but why would you make a movie about a real historical figure and make it completely fiction? My other issue with this movie (and probably the biggest issue I have with this movie) is the content. There were a lot of mature scenes that were unnecessary and even a bit graphic. And some of the time, you couldn't even see the bad scenes coming: it'll be an okay scene, okay scene, and then you're blindsided by an unnecessary bad scene. Save yourself the time and skip this movie. Look at the screenshots of costumes and scenery, but that's about it. The rest of it was badly done, indeed! (Another shameless Jane Austen reference)
Shakespeare in Love is available on DVD and Blu-ray. It is rated R (and appropriately so) and runs for 123 minutes.