User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 123 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 99 out of 123
  2. Negative: 14 out of 123

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  1. May 7, 2014
    Did this movie deserve to win Best Picture over Saving Private Ryan? No. But it is a good movie in itself? Yes. The reason many people dislike this film is for the role reason that it didn't deserve the Oscar it got. However, it is a quaint little love story that isn't as clich├ęd as the movie might suggest, and the visuals are captivating. It also features some great performances from Joseph Fiennes, Judi Dench, and yes, Gwyneth Paltrow. Expand
  2. Jan 5, 2014
    The movie begins to shine in the second half. It is witty and funny, but the romance is over the top and not believable. The score is stellar and makes for some great moments.
  3. Dec 28, 2013
    Though I agree with many other reviewers that the historical inaccuracies of Shakespeare in Love are extremely bad, Shakespeare in Love is not really about historical accuracy. It is instead a beautiful story of romance with more than its fair share of laughs that makes it a perfect example of how to do a great romantic comedy. Having never seen Saving Private Ryan, I cannot say whether this movie deserved the Best Picture Oscar or not. However, having seen Shakespeare in Love, I can say that its suburb acting and beautiful plot make it a great film regardless. Expand
  4. May 20, 2012
    There is a special place in my brain for movies/videogames/albums where I store things that are supposed to be amazing, but that I find rediculously terrible. This is one of those. This is like watching a high school play. As long as the high school actors are extra annoying beyond the abilities of a high school student. I'm not a big fan of romance movies but I believe I'm being objective here. It's not as bad as Notting Hill (that one gets a minus 1,000,000), but it's in the ballpark. I never liked Shakespeare, but I like a movie about him even less. Expand
  5. Apr 6, 2012
    I did have a good time watching it, but I don't think I will watch it again. Please, don't misunderstand me; it is a very nice film but there are many other movies that are as enjoyable as this one. I think a 6 is good enough for it. I am glad, however, I watched it on dvd and I didn't go to the movies to do so, otherwise my disappointment would have been great.
  6. Apr 2, 2012
    Shakespeare in Love flat out sucks, sucks, sucks. Who would want to watch this overperformed, over dramatic and overdone movie. It deserves to have a special place in hell right next to the Devil, also while your at it add the director.
  7. Feb 14, 2012
    Shakespeare in Love is a feast for the eyes, the heart and the soul. A comic-romantic-fantasy with a historical setting, it is self-aware, extremely well-written, and the huge and varied cast all shine. The brilliant Gwyneth Paltrow and the fleetingly on-screen Judi Dench quite rightly received awards for their roles as Shakespeare's love interest and muse Viola and an elderly, irritable Queen Elizabeth I, and Joseph Fiennes is also great as a the titular bard, playing him as a rock star with a creative block. The rest of the cast are made up of an unusual, but somehow rather effective mix of thespians (Geoffrey Rush, Rupert Everett, Simon Callow), old reliables (Colin Firth, Tom Wilkinson, Imelda Staunton), British comics (Martin Clunes, Mark Williams, Simon Day), and Ben Affleck. Though it's an undeniably clever take on historical romance, a re-telling of what may or may not have inspired the playwright, and a film with enough tongue-in-cheek references to Shakespeare's great works to satisfy even the most ardent fan, where Shakespeare in Love truly shines is in its story, characters and emotion. You're invested in the relationship between Will and Viola from the very start, and passionately want them to live happily ever after, though you likely expect imminent tragedy to befall the lovers (this being a film about the writing of Romeo and Juliet). John Madden's passionate and theatrically dramatic direction keeps the film running smoothly, and a dream-pairing of screenwriter Marc Norman and much-acclaimed playwright Tom Stoppard manages to keep the dialogue grounded, yet poetic, believable yet melodramatic, with heavy doses of both laughter and tears - a difficult balancing act. With the addition of Sandy Powell's top-notch period costumes, Stephen Warbeck's romantic and memorable score, and authentic-looking set design from Jill Quertier, Shakespeare in Love becomes an extremely rewarding, thoroughly memorable film. It's handsome, well-rounded and full of heart. Expand
  8. Jan 29, 2012
    wonderful film.terribly underrated just because it's romantic comedy that won an Oscar instead of WWII epic. forget Oscars and enjoy in one of the most original and witty romantic comedies. though I wish it was less romantic and more wacky. but still the idea to use Shakespeare as a character in Shakespearean comedy makes this one the most original romantic comedies ever. Maybe Saving Private Ryan was better (it's the matter of taste, and they cannot be compared cause they are so different) but this is still one of the best Oscar winning films in the last 30 years (especially comparing to the subsequent ones). Expand
  9. Dec 31, 2011
    Beautifully written. Commendable costumes. Excellent cast and their acts. Emotionally convincing. Morally uplifting. One of the best in the 90s. SPLENDID.
  10. Oct 13, 2011
    This movie deserves a special place in hell. On its own, it is a truly terrible movie - with boring characters and tons of whiny girly love cr&p.
    The real reason why all copies of it should be burned was the fact that it beat "Saving Private Ryan" for best picture. This is the 2nd greatest outrage of all TV/Movie history next to Firefly being cancelled. SPR is possibly the best war
    movie of all time, and this is just some sappy made-up fantasy cr&p which does not follow the realities of the time of Shakespeare at all.
    Boring, terrible, overrated - punch one of the members of the Academy if you ever meet them.
  11. Jun 12, 2011
    I read a lot of good critics about this movie but I can't understand what was so great about it. Story is lame, actors are not that good (I can't stand Gwyneth Paltrow). Nothing original. In one word : boring.
  12. May 23, 2011
    Wow, this movie was so terrible that the only good thing about it was Geoffrey Rush. So Shakespeare got his inspiration for Romeo and Juliet from experiencing similar events. Lame!
  13. Mar 20, 2011
    I'm not usually one to fault a film for historical inaccuracy, but this one went too far--and then failed to compensate with a decent story. I disagree with those who say knowing Shakespeare adds to a viewer's enjoyment, unless what is known is a play or two and some half-remembered facts about Elizabethan London. Knowing a lot about Renaissance drama just makes the film galling, as real historical figures are wrenched from their actual lives and made to serve a contrived and fantastical plot. I almost walked out when John Webster, who would soon be writing complex, intellectual plays, was depicted as a child torturing rats and informing on Shakespeare's company, but that was just one of many instances. As for the love story and its theatrical issue, both were the height of silliness. I'm not saying it wasn't possible for a woman to cross-dress in early modern England; it happened. But Gwyneth Paltrow in a tiny fake moustache is about as masculine as a troupe of ballerinas at a quilting bee, so believing that everyone was fooled requires some serious IQ-shaving. I normally like Paltrow, but this film lowered my opinion of her acting chops. Then there's the idea that Shakespeare was blocked and needed experience to write from. Leaving aside the ample evidence that the playwright may have been the least blocked writer who ever lived, he always used other texts as the basis for his plays. I hope we don't get a sequel called "Shakespeare in a Jealous Rage" that shows him killing his wife so he can write Othello. On the plus side, the supporting cast, sets, and costumes are excellent. The film gets most of the little stuff right, oddly enough; would it had lavished the same care on the big stuff. Expand

Universal acclaim - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. This romantic farce has a talented cast and energy to spare, but somehow the ingredients don't burn as brightly as one would expect from such promising ingredients.
  2. 100
    I was carried along by the wit, the energy and a surprising sweetness.
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Accessibly brainy screen charmer.