User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 113 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 91 out of 113
  2. Negative: 13 out of 113

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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. Dec 31, 2011
    Beautifully written. Commendable costumes. Excellent cast and their acts. Emotionally convincing. Morally uplifting. One of the best in the 90s. SPLENDID.

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.