"Suspension of disbelief not necessary. Sense of humor a must."
What light from yonder theatre breaks? It is the Shakespeare In Love. And it doth not suck.I'm not an easy win-over for Gwyneth Paltrow. I think she has oodles of potential, but at times she seems to have that old Dan Akroyd "I'll take on any script that comes my way" style about her. Joseph Fiennes, who was undistinguished in Elizabeth, is another who I expect little from. While his brother is seen as le grande thespian by virtue of the fact that he's done some period pieces and speaks with a British accent, Joe was always going to find it hard to be Fiennes the younger.
Well, grease me up and call me Ethel if the two of them haven't busted out with perception-changing performances here. Paltrow shows some real emotion, something that was pretty much missing in A Perfect Murder and Sliding Doors. Fiennes opens himself right up and isn't hateful in the slightest. He's even good.
Backed up by a rightfully confident Ben Affleck (with the best lines of the movie), a goofy and somewhat overrated Geoffrey Rush, a powerful as all get out Dame Judi Dench and an assortment of fine English support cast, the stars have done their job with devastatingly good aplomb.
Has the director? Oh yes. And the art director, and the DP, and just to top off all the others, the writers have performed script acrobatics. The same folks responsible for the earlier Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead, you could expect nothing less.
The premise is extremely well done. They've stuck their hands under the dress of Shakespeare and given it the goosing of a lifetime, turning not so much Shakespeare's works, but the whole historic period into a comedy adventure worthy of Oscars.The only down-side is a slow beginning, but this film picks up in pace and interest the longer it goes and by the end you'll not even remember shifting in your seat in the first five minutes. If Life Is Beautiful hadn't come out earlier, I'd rate Shakespeare In Love the year's best.