Directed by John Madden
Running Time: 2:03
Rated R

Believe the Hype. I honestly don't think I found anything I didn't like about Shakespeare in Love. Usually when a movie gets all this press (and of course 13 award nominations), it doesn't live up to all that advance billing. But this one did, which makes me feel that Saving Private Ryan all of a sudden has a heck of a lot of competition come Oscar night.

This is the not-so-true story of William Shakespeare. Joseph Fiennes is Shakespeare. Will works for a theater company called The Rose. He's hired by Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush in a very funny role) to write a new comedy for the theater. Something with love, pirates, and oh yes, a dog. Will however has no inspiration and can not write. But when he sees the lovely Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow) all of a sudden he has all he needs. Viola is a noble woman soon to be married to Lord Wessex not out of love, but out of money. She loves the theater, but women are not allowed to act in the theater. So she dresses up as a man and auditions for Shakespeare's new play. Will and Viola fall in love and Will helps Viola hide her identity in the theater. Will starts writing a play called Romeo and Juliet (and I think by now we all know how that ends up), and his love affair with Viola inspires him to create the famous play. But just like Romeo and Juliet, Will and Viola are star crossed lovers who were never meant to be. Or were they?

From start to finish I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. I don't even know how to write anything without sounding like I'm gushing. The acting was wonderful (where has Joseph Fiennes been hiding? No doubt behind his brother Ralph.) I think Paltrow is a very underrated actress (although I suppose with the Oscar nomination, she isn't underrated anymore). Geoffrey Rush was very funny in a small role. And Judi Dench made the most out of her 9 minutes of screen time as Queen Elizabeth. The script was superb. The words just seemed to flow out of the actors mouths. There wasn't a time where the dialogue seemed forced in any way. The scenery was amazing (there's one shot I'd love to have on a poster. It's a scene at night where you see all the taxi boats on the lake, with the town in the background. I realize it's all just a set, but it looked really cool.) The sets looked really authentic, especially the old English theatre where Romeo and Juliet was performed. There really wasn't anything wrong with this movie. I guess the only small problem would be, how could you possibly confuse Gwyneth Paltow for a man? But then again, looking at the man who was playing Juliet, I suppose it's possible.

Basically Shakespeare in Love had something for everyone. A love story with sword fighting and comedy, and oh yes, a dog. It was the kind of movie that made me want to stand up and shout "This is why movies should be made!" (Of course if I stood up and shouted that people would think I was an idiot.) Shakespeare in Love certainly lived up to its hype and is definitely one to watch. And if it means anything to anyone, this movie has jumped onto my top ten favorite movies of all time list...

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