Shakespeare in Love

User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 146 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 15 out of 146

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User Reviews

  1. Jan 29, 2012
    10
    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 Savingwonderful 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
  2. TomW.
    Sep 6, 2004
    5
    Kinda boring film, although nice cinematography. I can't help feel though that it's overrated. If you're into a historically themed romatic comedy though, you should like it. Personally I *hate* Shakespeare -- he's too wanky ;)
  3. DrSteveH.
    Jun 19, 2003
    2
    Boring, sappy, and pointless. The performances were unispired and the writing lame. A waste of time.
  4. RodrigoR.
    Aug 7, 2004
    10
    Amazing acting, marvellous directing and quite good cinematography. There is no moment of the film when you think that the time consume is not worth it
  5. T.M.
    Feb 4, 2005
    5
    An innocuous, charming little movie that did not deserve the Oscars it got, especially Best Picture or Best Actress. And if I see another movie where a woman disguises herself as a man, still looks like a woman, but the characters are fooled by her disguise, I'm going to slit my own throat.
  6. PabloD.
    Apr 8, 2006
    10
    A gorgeous monument to Shakespeare and his greater master-piece "Romeo & Juliet". This is one of the best pictures of all time.
  7. JosephJ.
    Dec 16, 2002
    10
    A brilliantly written, directed, and acted masterpiece of romantic comedy. Deservedly won the Best Picture Academy Award.
  8. KimH.
    Apr 25, 2002
    10
    Beautiful, funny, sweet, androgynously sensual. Wonderful!
  9. Paulb.
    Sep 21, 2003
    10
    Paltry?She is simply at her best! you are an other jealous american loser.The movie is great.
  10. SusanM.
    May 24, 2005
    10
    Perfect movie, one of my favourites, Gwyneth is amazing, I could watch it a zillion times and never get bored.
  11. Dec 31, 2011
    10
    Beautifully written. Commendable costumes. Excellent cast and their acts. Emotionally convincing. Morally uplifting. One of the best in the 90s. SPLENDID.

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  12. BobJ.
    May 13, 2007
    3
    I found that the movie was not very good at all and was quite boring to say the least. The thing that makes me the most mad was the fact that it got Best Picture over SAVING PRIVATE RYAN!!! Saving private Ryan was a definite 9.0-10.0 rated film (out of 10). The other thing is (as T.M. mentioned) was the whole girl dressed as a guy to fool the other actors but still looks like a girl. This I found that the movie was not very good at all and was quite boring to say the least. The thing that makes me the most mad was the fact that it got Best Picture over SAVING PRIVATE RYAN!!! Saving private Ryan was a definite 9.0-10.0 rated film (out of 10). The other thing is (as T.M. mentioned) was the whole girl dressed as a guy to fool the other actors but still looks like a girl. This makes the film even worse (if that is possible). I would not recommend it at all. Collapse
  13. Mar 20, 2011
    5
    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 realI'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
  14. Oct 13, 2011
    1
    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
    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.
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  15. NickV.
    Aug 10, 2004
    1
    Very boring, need Will Smith & Martin Lawrence to jump out halfway through all guns blazing saying "We ride together, we die together, Bad Boy for life"
  16. PatC.
    Apr 17, 2006
    10
    Like Shakespeare, has something for everyone. Understandably easier to follow for one who appreciates Shakespeare, and some of the contrivances may distract some (how did the queen sneak into the theatre unnoticed?) But in focus and impact a perfect film that reminds us of the roots and power of drama.
  17. May 23, 2011
    1
    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!
  18. May 20, 2012
    0
    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 objectiveThere 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
  19. Jun 12, 2011
    1
    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.
  20. Apr 2, 2012
    0
    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.
  21. BlancoA.
    Apr 3, 2001
    8
    Solid movie, but better than "Saving Private Ryan"?? Hell no.
  22. TrottersIndependentCo.
    Jul 20, 2002
    10
    Brilliant movie, best ive seen in ages!
  23. SteveM.
    Mar 31, 2003
    9
    Once you get past the love story, the poor boy and the rich girl, and get to the meat of this pie, the love affair with the theater, this becomes really savory. it opens with an empty stage and an equally empty house. it ends with a richly peopled stage, and an equally packed house. they are all stage struck. we are all stage struck, or screen struck. this movie touched in that.
  24. YoonC.
    Sep 15, 2003
    7
    One can appreciate the writing but too clever an idea to pull off for over 2 hrs. And, Paltrow is as usual paltry, convincing neither as woman nor man.
  25. AndrewM.
    Jul 12, 2004
    9
    A remarkably original, uplifting film that is brilliant in its simplicity and its superbly crafted production. The marriage between the actors and characters is superlative, the writing gives it all the backbone it needs, and the smooth direction is simply the icing on the cake; it deserved every one of its kudos. Paltrow and Fiennes have never been better and Dench, Rush, et al, are the A remarkably original, uplifting film that is brilliant in its simplicity and its superbly crafted production. The marriage between the actors and characters is superlative, the writing gives it all the backbone it needs, and the smooth direction is simply the icing on the cake; it deserved every one of its kudos. Paltrow and Fiennes have never been better and Dench, Rush, et al, are the perfect support. This is an adorable film, accessible by all, and one that brings a little sunshine to the heart. Enjoy! Expand
  26. MichaelS.
    Feb 21, 2005
    8
    Smart script; well-executed. Knowing a thing or two about Shakespeare only adds depth to the experience.
  27. MattS.
    Mar 3, 2007
    9
    As far as romantic comedies go, this one is just about perfect. I loved the fact that the movie itself used so many classical theatre devices, from a woman disguising herself as a man to the Deus ex Machina of Queen Elizabeth's surprise appearance in the movie's climax. The acting is superb, the direction and cinematography are perfect, and the story is fun and moving.
  28. TheEvilOfGilbertMulroneycakes
    Nov 13, 2002
    10
    If you don't like this, there's no hope for you. Delightful.
  29. KimberlyB.
    Sep 22, 2002
    6
    Too long , it shouldn't have been written in bed, but excelent costumes, and perfect sets, great camera catching.
  30. GustavoH.R.
    Dec 31, 2003
    7
    Time is unbeatable. Giving the Best Picture for this simple, mediocre romantic comedy was a mistake: now most of the people know that.
  31. JonathanZ.
    Feb 22, 2005
    7
    I can see why Shakespeare in Love won Best Picture back in 1998. I expected that
  32. LeonardoP.
    Apr 11, 2008
    4
    I don't now why Shakespeare in Love won the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Actress. It is not so good as the critics said, I think that Saving Private Ryan is very better. It stays boring in a lot of parts and it has a lot of errors. Finally, I don't recommend it.
  33. Feb 14, 2012
    9
    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, irritableShakespeare 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
  34. Apr 6, 2012
    6
    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.
  35. Jan 5, 2014
    7
    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.
  36. Dec 12, 2014
    8
    Shakespeare in Love is a victim of circumstance. Due to its Best Picture victory over Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line, many have written it off as horrible because it is not as good as either of those. Luckily, this is not true at all, as Shakespeare in Love is absolutely a good film. Bolstered by great direction from John Madden and wondrously elegant performances from JosephShakespeare in Love is a victim of circumstance. Due to its Best Picture victory over Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line, many have written it off as horrible because it is not as good as either of those. Luckily, this is not true at all, as Shakespeare in Love is absolutely a good film. Bolstered by great direction from John Madden and wondrously elegant performances from Joseph Fiennes, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Judi Dench, Shakespeare in Love is a winner. Gregory Rush, Colin Firth, Ben Affleck, and Tom Wilkinson, also all stood out as very good. The production design was also really cool as it truly felt like a medieval times and all of it truly just looked very good. The costume design was also great. As a whole, Shakespeare in Love perfectly blends romance, comedy, and drama, all into one and really never fails to capture your attention due to the great production elements and great acting. All in all, not hard to see why this one was nominated, though winning may be a bit much. Expand
  37. May 7, 2014
    8
    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 clichéd as the movie might suggest, and the visuals are captivating. It also features some great performances fromDid 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 clichéd 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
  38. Dec 28, 2013
    9
    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 whetherThough 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
  39. Feb 25, 2015
    9
    This film is very tender, i like very much the argument and the actors are charming. Funny situations and drama mixed with natural performances not wanting to imitate the air in that time if not giving a touch own.
  40. Nov 29, 2015
    10
    This is a love story written around the staging of Romeo & Juliet in old London town. We don't know the details about everyday life then but somethings never change. I'm sure the goings on with the money lenders, the city bureaucrats, even which actor is chosen still happens on Broadway. A rich man's daughter being married to a poor man who has a title; seen many a movie about that.This is a love story written around the staging of Romeo & Juliet in old London town. We don't know the details about everyday life then but somethings never change. I'm sure the goings on with the money lenders, the city bureaucrats, even which actor is chosen still happens on Broadway. A rich man's daughter being married to a poor man who has a title; seen many a movie about that. But the dropping of famous Shakespearean quotes throughout the movie make this more enjoyable if you know a little. I own this DVD in my collection. Expand
Metascore
87

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
    88
    Accessibly brainy screen charmer.