Friday, April 13, 2012

Shakespeare in Love. B

Here's a perfectly respectable film. It's got good acting, a great look, an original story, wit to spare, and tender, even moving dramatic elements. But the movie still isn't a great one, and I'm trying to figure out why. I think it has something to do with it not taking enough risks. Yes, the plot spills over with originality, yet but the unfolding narrative events end up being pretty conventional. I think the movie's too old fashioned. Playwright Tom Stoppard co-wrote the script, and while his skill is clearly present, I wish he'd gone to greater lengths to make it something we've never seen before. Stoppard is the kind of writer who can take seemingly ordinary material and blow your mind with it. We saw that with Arcadia (my favorite play), but here he settles with a more traditional approach (he also wasn't the sole writer, plus one can assume the studio didn't offer complete freedom). But this isn't to say that the movie is poorly written. It's got plenty of zing to it, just not as much as I'd hoped. It's a delightful little movie about a love story that inspired Romeo and Juliet. It's also got plenty to say about the theatre back in the days of Shakespeare, something a lesser screenplay wouldn't bother to delve into.

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