Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic 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. Crudup is whole. He creates the man who has pride in what he does, who is suddenly stripped of the work and the pride; and who makes his way, somewhat painfully, to another sort of pride. His story is a small but acute poignancy in the history of the theater, and Crudup realizes it completely.
  3. A rich, shining valentine to the British theater and the eternal joys of Shakespeare,
  4. It's not as clever, or as consistently funny, or as well-cast as "Shakespeare in Love," but Richard Eyre's Stage Beauty is the most fun I've had with the Bard since that 1998 Oscar winner.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 14
  2. Negative: 1 out of 14
  1. 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.
    Full Review »
  2. 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. Full Review »
  3. 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. Full Review »