*Shakespeare in Love (1998)*

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Starring: Joseph Fiennes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Geoffrey Rush, Colin Firth, Ben Affleck, Judi Dench, Simon Callow, Tom Wilkinson

Director: John Madden

Summary: An affair with a noblewoman inspires Shakespeare to write his first great tragedy

Other Nominations: Director, Actress (Paltrow)*, Supporting Actor (Rush), Supporting Actress (Dench)*, Original Screenplay*, Musical/Comedy Score*, Sound, Art Direction*, Cinematography, Makeup, Costume Design*, Film Editing

It has a negative reputation as “the movie that robbed Saving Private Ryan” of Best Picture, but even if it shouldn’t have won, that doesn’t make it a bad movie by any means. Shakespeare in Love has plenty of charm from start to finish, the story is creative and is it’s clever in incorporating elements from Shakespeare’s work and that of his contemporaries. As far as scripting goes, it accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do and I only had one complaint, that it resolves what should have been an extremely significant problem in the relationship between the two main characters that raised plenty of questions that were not expanded upon with about 3-4 lines of dialogue in a way that felt absurd even within the context of this movie. Joseph Fiennes probably would have received a Best Actor nomination in a year that wasn’t so strong in that category, but I am surprised Paltrow won over Blanchett’s performance in Elizabeth-both are great, but Blanchett really carries that movie where Paltrow has a lot more working in her favor here. Most famously though was Dench winning an Oscar despite her miniscule screen time; here, I don’t have an opinion about her vs. the other nominees, as none of the others were in a Best Picture nominee and I haven’t seen them, but I will say that Dench was flawless as Queen Elizabeth and if someone was going to win for being in a movie for just six minutes, it should be her. This was a better movie than I expected, with good humor, romance, creativity and wit along with a strong cast.

Rating: B

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