Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 20 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Set in 1660's England, this is the story of the first female actor to appear legally in England and the last male actor to make his career by playing women.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 38
  2. Negative: 0 out of 38
  1. Reviewed by: Ray Bennett
    Those who thought "Shakespeare In Love" was as good as it gets in intelligent costume romantic comedy will find that director Richard Eyre and writer Jeffrey Hatcher have taken the form to a higher level.
  2. Reviewed by: Alan Morrison
    A film that, despite being about theatre itself, is remarkably cinematic and entirely unafraid to revel in the English language.
  3. 75
    Expertly directed by Richard Eyre (Iris) from Jeffrey Hatcher's play, the film is bawdy fun.
  4. 70
    The movie's sexual politics couldn't be more regressive--Crudup learns to be a man in the sack as well as on the boards--but it's still a competent middlebrow costume drama.
  5. At best, the film makes a more convincing case for the adventure of artificiality: Take Billy Crudup, add a little rouge to his cheeks and suddenly: Voilà, the guy can act.
  6. A celebration of the theater that tends to drag the moment it's out of drag.
  7. 40
    Second-rate bawdiness--that is, bawdiness without the wit of Boccaccio or Shakespeare or even Tom Stoppard--is more infantile than funny, and I’m not sure that the American playwright Jeffrey Hatcher, who concocted this piece for the stage and then adapted it into a movie, is even second-rate.

See all 38 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 14
  2. Negative: 1 out of 14
  1. JayH.
    Aug 10, 2006
    This movie was brilliant. I wasn't sure if I was going to like it because I don't always enjoy period films involving Shakespeare, bt wow. This had my attention early on in the film, and pulled me for a memorable ride. Billy Crudup and Claire Danes were perfect as the leads. They had such an electric chemistry, and just worked well with each other. Crudup especially gave such an excellent performance, I'm disappointed he didn't get an Oscar nomination, at the very least. Stage Beauty funny, insightful, smart, witty, refreshing. Defintiely a must see. Expand
  2. roxw.
    Dec 15, 2005
    Billy Crudup deserved an Oscar. The depth and development of his character is a rare event in Hollywood. So rare, in fact, many critics and viewers are unable to recognize a performance that sparkles with nuance. The chemistry between Crudup and Danes is electrifying. A great underrated film. Expand
  3. Jace
    Feb 21, 2007
    While not the boiling melodrama one might expect from Shakesperean stew, this one simmers and cooks from start to finish. Highlights are Rupert Everett as King Charles II (bawdy, hilarious, over-the-top but utterly believable) and the dialogue, which breathes with extremely clever and irionic wit, as well as delivering emotional blows that linger into subsequent scenes. This movie tells a poignant story and has fun doing so, without ever devolving into plain silliness. Expand
  4. Feb 19, 2011
    This is a film I can watch again and again. Billy Crudup and Claire Danes are both
    tremendously talented and this film is a great vehicle
    for them. Their chemistry is real
    (intense and sizzling). Both these Yanks pull of the British accents with ease. The story is interesting,
    the pace is quick, the music is well chosen and the supporting cast is excellent. I like the ambiguous ending but have no doubt that Maria's great love will save Ned.
  5. ChadShiira
    Oct 17, 2006
    Remember "Cheers"? Remember when Andy Andy and Diane performed "Othello" in Sam's bar? In "Stage Beauty", Maria(Claire Danes) is vague about her acting counterpart's method-gone-mad interpretation of "The Moor" by referring to him as a pronoun. Why? Just in case Ned really isn't trying to kill her? A feminist reading of "Stage Beauty" will point out that Maria is unfairly portrayed as a villian(she's kind of Joan Rivers-like in her seeming disloyalty to Johnny Carson), when, in actuality, it's the budding actress' right to reclaim her sex from transgender masquerade. During Desdemona's death scene, there's a masochistic willingness on Maria's behalf to be punished. Her super-trouper mentality doesn't quite ring true because Danes doesn't convey that unforgettable fire for acting, in which you'd believe that Maria would lay down her life for the stage. Who would be that stupid anyway? But if you'd rather relax and not dig deep into "Stage Beauty", you'll be surprised at how this small film is in every way superior to "Shakespeare in Love". Thanks largely in part to Billy Crudup, who is not the "most beautiful woman on the London stage", but who makes a sublime drag queen. Expand

See all 14 User Reviews