Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation | Release Date: May 14, 1999
6.4
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 31 Ratings
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Positive:
16
Mixed:
12
Negative:
3
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10
FredB.May 24, 2007
Beautifully entertaining take on Shakespeare's play, laced with Italian opera and marvelous performances, by Kline and Flockhart particularly. The giddy poetry rolls on and on and what Pffeifer might lack in delivery she makes up for in Beautifully entertaining take on Shakespeare's play, laced with Italian opera and marvelous performances, by Kline and Flockhart particularly. The giddy poetry rolls on and on and what Pffeifer might lack in delivery she makes up for in lovestruck appeal. Bravo. Expand
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4
OfficialNov 15, 2013
Even at 116 minutes, I thought that "A Midsummer Night's Dream" was so goddamn long. Honestly, it's boring as hell. There's absolutely no funny scenes, nothing exciting or intense, and it's overall just a dull mess.
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7
MovieGuysMar 14, 2014
A Midsummer Night's Dream is faithful towards the famous play by Shakespeare, but it seems a bit dull. The performances are fine, and the scenery is quaint, but the movie just seems a bit off-center.
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5
JwvJan 21, 2014
The acting in general was not very convincing, especially not as is required for a good Shakespearean rendition. Most lines are uttered without real feeling and with clichéd emotion, facial expression and gesture. Calista Flockhart (Helena),The acting in general was not very convincing, especially not as is required for a good Shakespearean rendition. Most lines are uttered without real feeling and with clichéd emotion, facial expression and gesture. Calista Flockhart (Helena), Sam Rockwell (Francis Flute; especially in the play-in-the-play) and Kevin Kline (Bottom) were best, my favourite being Calista Flockhart who brings Helena's emotions convincingly with great authenticity. I have read that "this was Kevin Kline's play", but I disagree because the character of Bottom has a lot of potential as a funny Shakespearean stereotype (but this was probably acted out under the director's guidance). Only in the end did he really show himself in the play-in-the-play. Michelle Pfeiffer (Titania) and especially Rupert Everett (Oberon) show us that the failing fairies' relationship was not only due to adultery and jealousy, but also because of the lack of emotional depth in their relationship - which speaks out of their performance. The biggest disappointment is that I don't see the Shakespearean stereotypes played out on screen, Bottom is supposed to be the idiot with a carpe diem lifestyle, but he is portrayed too gravely, which stifles a lot of potential humorous approaches to the character. Puck also didn't come to life as the witty and mischievous knave he is. I also feel that the director could have done more with the mute characters on screen, their short scenes are there to set a mood, but they seem superfluous.

The soundtrack was nothing spectacular and the sound-effects and background noises were cheap clichés we see everywhere nowadays (cf. forest background sounds). Most of the actors' voice-acting was also uninspired, and does not do homage to the verbal virtuosity of Shakespeare's play.

I sincerely wonder whether the director knows of the potential comedy that lurks in the play, because I did not have the feeling that I was watching a comedy at all. The play-in-a-play was in it's 10-minute totality more funny than the whole 100 preceding minutes. There were no genuinely funny situations, and the movie was absolutely not original in creating these, Instead, it relied too much on the inherent comedy of the incompatibility of some characters and emotions in certain situations, and so took a too passive and unoriginal approach. The movie lets a lot of very obvious occasions of potential funny situations slip by, even the potential very comic situation with the chink in the wall slip (hint: "I kiss the wall's hole, not your lips at all"). The only scene that comes closest to a comic situation is when Helena runs away from a chasing Demetrius and Lysander, but even this scene was more dramatic than funny. Bottom's lying with Titania too was also disappointing.
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