26 July 2011

28. SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE



Opening image: the theatre, a playbill. We are in a fantasy, and we know our setting.

Rush needs a play to pay his debts. Goes to Shakespeare, who owes him one, but Shakespeare has writer's block, can't take the job.

Mentor -- his proto-therapist tried to help, gives him a bracelet which will allow him a muse.

Paltrow is a royal, suffocated by her status (think Rose in TITANIC), who wants real love, poetry, beauty. Not a glorified merger.

Shakespeare discovers his lady fucked by another dude, burns his play. He's single now.

Minute 22. Paltrow auditions, Shakespeare likes it, chases her: "Follow that boat", an update (a regression?) of that old trope "Follow that cab!"

Paltrow will bind boobs and wear a wig, an inversion of the male actors in Elizabethan theatre who would play women, since none were allowed as actors themselves.

Firth, the villain, getting set up with Paltrow as she and Shakespeare flirt, Firth threatens.

"Who's that?" "Nobody, he's the author."

The film's scenes mirror his play.

Paltrow is told she is to marry Firth, she's bummed. This is classic act 2 bad times.

Paltrow and Shakespeare in a boat. She's revealed finally to be herself, they fuck.

Midpoint: Queen reveals she's been fucked, Firth makes a bet. Burbage discovers Shakespeare's bracelet, a real swordfight breaks out during a rehearsal swordfight.

Act 2 bad times continue: Paltrow discovers he's married, real Marlowe is killed by Firth.

Minute 80: Shakespeare and Firth swordfight.

Whiff of death: Paltrow revealed as woman, theatre closed, play done. Burbage puts the play back on!

Act 3 -- Paltrow is married, the play day -- she returns, plays Juliet.

The Queen is at the performance, deems the play good, Firth loses bet.

Although the lovers cannot be together, their love lives on in a new play Shakespeare has begun writing.

This one is notable for some good plotting and parallels between a classical author's work and the work of fiction, and while I give them credit for sticking with the somewhat downbeat ending, I don't think it is one of the finest screenplays ever written.

28 Comments:

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I loved this movie. it was way better than Elizabeth and Saving Private Ryan. the twist on Romeo and Juliet was fascinating and the Romantic level of this epic was equal to R & J the play. I love Joseph Fiennes and Paltrow.

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