William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) is on a cold streak. Not only is he writing for Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush), owner of "The Rose," a theatre whose doors are about to be closed by sadistic creditors, but he's got a nasty case of writer's block. Shakespeare hasn't written a hit in years. In fact, he hasn't written much of anything recently. ...
William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) is on a cold streak. Not only is he writing for Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush), owner of "The Rose," a theatre whose doors are about to be closed by sadistic creditors, but he's got a nasty case of writer's block. Shakespeare hasn't written a hit in years. In fact, he hasn't written much of anything recently. Thus, the Bard finds himself in quite a bind when Henslowe, desperate to stave off another round of hot-coals-to-feet application, stakes The Rose's solvency on Shakespeare's new comedy, "Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter." The problem is, "Romeo" is safely "locked away" in Shakespeare's head, which is to say that not a word of it is written. Meanwhile, the lovely Lady Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow) is an ardent theatre-goer -- scandalous for a woman of her breeding -- who especially admires Shakespeare's plays and, not incidentally, Bill himself. Alas, she's about to be sold as property into a loveless marriage by her mercenary father and shipped off to a Virginia tobacco plantation. But not before dressing up as a young man and winning the part of Romeo in the embryonic play. Shakespeare soon discovers the deception and goes along with it, using the blossoming love affair to ignite his muse. As William and Viola's romance grows in intensity and spirals towards its inevitable culmination, so, too, does the farcical comedy about Romeo and pirates transform into the timeless tragedy that is Romeo and Juliet. Merle Bertrand, Rovi
Joseph Fiennes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Geoffrey Rush, Judi Dench. Very good in good packaging. Language: English. Run time: 122 mins. Originally released: 1998. Previous rental with usual stickers on tape but only partial sticker over UPC on cover, which also has superficial knife mark along length of one edge. Could otherwise probably pass for Like New. In this well-conceived Elizabethan comedy, writers Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman ask the question: Who was William Shakespeare's muse? The answer: Viola de Lesseps, a young noblewoman who dreams of acting on a man's stage. The screenwriters deliver a cleverly crafted scenario which beautifully illustrates both the early aspirations of the playwright, and a glimpse into the culture of Elizabethan theater. Colorful characters, like the Globe theater owner Henslow (played by Geoffrey Rush), the lead player in the troupe (Ben Affleck), and the Queen herself (Judi Dench), give the cast charm, wit, and feasibility. The young playwright who at the start of the film is experiencing writer's block bursts forth with a lyrical text inspired by the lovely and passionate Viola. Ultimately this film is about the making of a great play, but most importantly it is about the power of words.