Love is the Only Inspiration

Shakespeare in Love is one of those movies that defies characterization. It's a comedy, a romance, with a bittersweet end and a whole lot of literary references. Written by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard (!) and directed by John Madden, this filmed recieved 13 Oscar nominations and took home the award for best picture, actress, and screenplay, among others.

The film centers upon the young William Shakespeare who suffers from writer's block and that common side-affect of genius, being misunderstood. He is struggling both as an actor and as a playwright, living in a world where strangers tell him "I had Christopher Marlowe on my boat once." His new play, tentatively titled "Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter" is all set to be a smash- it has pirates and a bit with a dog. But when a young Thomas Kent tries out for a part, he is disturbed to discover his attraction to the lad. As he follows Mr. Kent, he discovers she is in fact a wealthy woman by the name of Viola (for women are not allowed to act), and that she's engaged to marry Lord Essex. Nevertheless, an affair begins, which transforms "Romeo and Ethel" into something far more extraordinary.

The film has a really wonderful cast, and even Ben Affleck is good (he plays an egocentric actor ;p ). The leads, Gwenyth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes, are very good as Will and Viola, and Geoffery Rush and Colin Firth have supporting roles. Judi Dench is showstopping as Queen Elizabeth. The costumes and production are also fantastic. It's not historically accurate by any means, but then, neither was Shakespeare.