Shakespeare in Love

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Shakespeare in Love is a 1998 romantic comedy film directed by John Madden and written by Marc Norman and playwright Tom Stoppard.

The film purports to portray playwright William Shakespeare's involvement in a love affair at the time that he was writing the play Romeo and Juliet; it is largely fictional, although several of the characters are based on real people. In addition, many of the characters, lines, and plot devices are references to Shakespeare's plays.

Shakespeare in Love won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress (for Gwyneth Paltrow), and Best Supporting Actress (for Judi Dench). It was the first comedy film to win the Best Picture award since Annie Hall (1977).

Contents

Plot

The film centres around the forbidden love of William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) and Viola de Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow), the daughter of a wealthy merchant.

The film begins with theatre manager Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush) being strong-armed to pay a debt he owes to loan shark Hugh Fennyman (Tom Wilkinson). Henslowe offers Fennyman a partnership in the upcoming production of Shakespeare's newest comedyRomeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter — promising that it will be a hit. The playwright, however, burns the original play and tries to start anew after learning that his love and inspiration was cheating on him with Edmund Tilney (Simon Callow), the Master of the Revels. Suffering from writer's block, Will Shakespeare is unable to complete the play, but begins auditions for Romeo, planning to write the play as the actors rehearse. A young man named Thomas Kent is cast in the role after impressing Shakespeare with his performance and his love of Shakespeare's previous work. Unknown to Shakespeare and the rest of the theatre company, Kent is actually young Viola de Lesseps, who desires to act, but must disguise herself as a young man to fulfill her dream, since women are barred from the stage. This play will later be renamed Romeo and Juliet and be reworked into a tragedy (but with some comical undertones with a few characters, like the Nurse).

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