SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE REVIEW
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"SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE"
The film I chose was "Shakespeare in Love". To my surprise I thoroughly enjoyed this film. This is a delightful romantic comedy that takes place in the year 1593. The romantic lead is Will Shakespeare who is a struggling playwright in the Elizabethan theatre. He is quite frustrated with his assignment to create a hit play for theater owner Philip Henslowe because Will is suffering from writers block. Philip pressures Will because he needs this play to be a success because he needs to pay his debt to a local moneylender or face torture or even death. Will seems to have lost hope without love in his life he is uninspired. He meets Viola de Lesseps a beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant and he finds his muse. Viola unlocks his passion for writing and she is also quite taken with Will. Their romance begins and evolves and Will writes his play with comedic overtures. Henslowe is quite pleased with Will's progress so he begins to look for actors for his production. Will accidentally auditions Thomas Kent for a part in the play and is quite impressed with the rendition. He is unaware that Thomas Kent is really Viola in disguise. She loved the theatre but during this period of time it was looked down upon for a woman to act in the theatre. Will is faced with two problems he is unaware of, Viola has already been promised to the heartless Lord Wessex a union approved by Queen Elizabeth herself and that Thomas Kent is really Viola de Lesseps in disguise. "Shakespeare in Love" is a bit of a fantasy, yet it is a lovely story that touches issues of sex and gender identity.The style of the film was indicative to the later sixteenth century. The arts flourished I the late 1500"s which sets the scene of "Shakespeare in Love." Drama thrived during this period particularly in Spain and England. William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe produced major writings which enriched theatrical literature and was the basis of this film.In the late 1500's the dress was magnificent but not built for comfort. Silk was popular and jewels and precious metals covered their clothes. Women supported their heavy silk skirts with farthingales and underlining. Men padded their trunk hose and doublets with bombast. Clothing stood away from the body except at the upper torso. Below the waist women's skirts swelled outward in domed or drum shapes. The costumes are striking in the film and are fantastic recreations of clothing in that era. The quilted fitted gray blue jacket that Shakespeare wore emulates that he is a sort of wild one during the Elizabethan time period. The dresses and jackets worn by Viola were the ones that caught my eye. The costume changes for Viola actually help to move the story along. They are so breathtaking you find yourself anxious to know what she will appear in next. The filigreed metal cages that adorned her costumes were like precious pieces of jewelry. Even the blue velvet jacket she wears in her disguise as Thomas Kent has beautiful detail with rows of tiny tucks around the collar that enhances her long slim neck. Most fashions of this era made it difficult for women to move in and were generally uncomfortable. In the film Viola contrary to the clothes of the late 16th century appears to move freely and delicately light and airy. The only dress that I noticed her as being constricted and uncertain in movement was the wedding gown. It's thick quilted bodice seemed to weigh her down and this dress was the most correct historically. Although some of the costumes did not adhere completely to the period they were still successful in telling the story. The costumes were full of character and seemed to be indicative of the shapes most popular for the times. Queen Elizabeth's costumes were so right for her obnoxious personality. She moved quickly and hurriedly in her long heavy pearl skirts portraying her character as angry and annoyed. Queen Elizabeth gave her clothes life and it suited the film quite well. I felt the costumes overall were quite successful. They moved beautifully when they should and restricted movement when they should. The detail, colors and styling fit into the time period and added character to the film.


 


 


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