Shakespeare in Love, produced by David Parfitt, Donna Gigliotti, and others and released in 1998, is the movie chosen for this essay. There are several aspects of the movie that impressed me. These include the acting performances by lead actors Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes, the fictitious storyline surrounding the greatest English poet of the modern era, the wonderful cinematography of Richard Greatrex, the interplay of Romeo and Juliet within the main narrative, etc. The following passages will expand on these features of the movie.
It is well acknowledged that only the basic outline of William Shakespeare’s life is deciphered by historians. Even the commonly circulated portrait of his is thought to be based more on conjecture than any real conviction. The details of his personal life are, naturally, more obscure than his appearance. This vacuum in the annals of Shakespearean studies is well-exploited by the filmmakers of Shakespeare in Love in that they create a colorful romantic context behind the birth of some of his great works. Moreover, the movie offers a creative take into the sources of inspiration behind works such as Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, etc.
Set around the late 16th century, the movie provides a glimpse into the social, cultural, and political life of the subjects of the British Monarchy during the era. This makes it an excellent reference for European historical study. I also find it appealing that the characters included in the plot represent different sections of Early Modern England, from the struggling theatre artists to Her Majesty the Queen. The portrayal of Queen Elizabeth the First as a patron and admirer of Shakespeare’s plays has a factual basis, too. Therefore, I was impressed by the fact that though partly fictitious, the story holds much credibility.
Through the movie, I was able to learn about Shakespearean sonnets. During the height of Shakespeare’s romance with Viola de Lesseps, some of his great lyrical love poems (written in the Sonnet format) flow from his heart. In my opinion, it is these scenes that are the highlight of the movie, for they link the personal and professional life of the Bard in a cinematically brilliant fashion. The few sonnets that I heard in the movie have inspired me to read more of them. I have now developed a genuine interest toward Shakespeare’s plays, which must be a worthy deviation from the run-of-the-mill products of the American pop culture.
In conclusion, I would attest to the quality and worth of the film Shakespeare in Love. I recommend it to all my friends and fellow students, so that they can increase their knowledge of history, widen their horizons to include far away cultures, and understand the art of theatre. Also, they would be introduced to the wonderful world of poetry through the sonnets included in the narrative. Those impressed by the movie can also watch theatrical/television productions of plays such as Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night, which will increase their appreciation of the movie.
Parfitt, David, Gigliotti, Donna, Weinstein, Harvey, Zwick, Edward, Norman, Mark
(producers), & Madden, John (director). (1998). Shakespeare in love [motion picture]. USA: Miramax Films.