William Shakepeare turns 450 this year.
Like his transcending work, he will always be remembered. We are constantly taught to, if not completely understand, then at least, appreciate his plays in school and we widely imagine Kenneth Branagh in any Shakepearean drama adapted on screen. But Branagh isn’t the only one to bring these plays to life and isn’t the only director/actor to try and put a new spin on these classic tales of life, love and in most cases murder. Here’s to remembering this great man whether it be on the page or on screen.
I raise a glass to you William. For even in death, you continue to change our lives, one word at a time.
Here is my own review of the film Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Shakespeare. It’s the most famous name in the English language, ringing proudly out across the British Isles. From his first works on stage around the 1590s to Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing in 2012, Shakespeare has been at the heart of literary culture for more than four hundred years, and his influence has spread around the world. In celebration of his 450th birthday this week, it’s time to look at his impact not just on the written word but on the world of cinema, as we count down the top ten best Shakespeares on film.
10. The Tempest (2010)
Let’s get something straight: Julie Taymor’s take on The Tempest isn’t a particularly good one. Despite her amazing cast – Ben Whishaw and Alfred Molina among them – Taymor’s film is slow and confused, with an overload of special effects that can’t hide its choppy pace and tone. What it…
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Director: John Madden
Release Date: December 3, 1998
Starring: Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow
Are you ready to fall in love again?
In a film about a young Shakespeare, penniless and suffering from writer’s block, he meets his muse and subsequently writes one of the greatest plays ever known..
Not only is this a film about Shakespeare himself, it is also about multiple Shakespearean themes weaving together seamlessly. Catching glimpses of forbidden love, lies, deceit and deception, arranged marriages, sword fights and jealousy, this film encapsulates the beauty of Shakespeare’s genius in a way that we can all relate to. Whether we have a favorite play by Shakespeare or whether we love a single character he created, it is all shown in a bright and shiny fashion alongside some of the most well known actors we know today.
Scattered throughout the film are the words of Shakespeare, but spoken by others than himself, as well as the implication that other people gave him the ideas for his many works as he is seen taking the words he hears in passing or words directly given to him to heart.
What I love the most about this film is that not only does it portray the beauty and imagination of Shakespeare as a man, but it shows the conflicts and problems of a time in which he lived. Surpassing the original thought that having women on stage alongside men is a lewd offense, Gwyneth Paltrow’s Lady Viola shows the world that women have the same capabilities of men and does so as a dreamer, one whose greatest wish is to be on stage. Despite the ideas thought in this time, despite the fact that the world seems cruel and taunting, this films shows that the little things in life can bring light to any dark place.
As a writer, I am a firm believer in words having the ability to change the ways of the world and Shakespeare’s words are no exception. The theater isn’t the only place for dreamers. For we are everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
There was a wager, I remember, as to whether a play could show the very truth and nature of love. I think you lost it today.