25 February 2005

Shakespeare in Love

This movie, and Stoppard's other Shakespearean homage Rosencranz and Gildenstern are Dead [IMDB], just amazes me. The quality of writing, first of all, surpasses that of most other "romantic comedies" that are produced--even the secondary characters, of whom there are many, are realized with an individuality that let's-face-it most blockbusters don't attain. On top of that, the references to the works of Shakespeare, to that era, and to our current society are masterful. I would almost complain about the over-indulgence of modernity, in the form of feminism and the concept of artistic integrity, in these films. However, those indulgences tie the essence of the two eras together and make the differences relevant. They are a virtuoso commentary on our own age, from someone well-versed in a previous age.

Philosophically, I love the final scene of Shakespeare in Love. In the context of a fiction of Shakespeare writing a fiction, Stoppard has his fictionalized characters (one historical and one completely fabricated) compose a fanciful story based on their star-crossed love. That fanciful story is influenced by what the (fabricated) character (Gwyneth Paltrow), did and will do, along with what the (fictionalized) Shakespeare will do (write Twelfth Night)--which is also what the actual Shakespeare did. Whenever I see it (just tonight) it almost makes my head explode in a self-referential black hole.

I cannot recommend these movies enough.

[ posted by sstrader on 25 February 2005 at 10:45:58 PM in Cinema ]