A Sunday Flicks Edition: Taking Shakespeare to Another Level

I've been a bad blogger...Last Sunday was particularly hectic for me, but I'm back with another review. I was in a strange mood for some English period movies. Browsing around I picked up the movie called “Stage Beauty” starring Claire Danes and Billy Crudup. After seeing Danes in the movie Romeo and Juliet and Stardust, I adored her ever since. I can see how every teen watched Baz Lurhman’s Romeo and Juliet can get starry eyed with romance. But “Stage Beauty” isn’t exactly a romance theme in the movie that is usually portrayed in 17th Century period films. But many have compared it to Shakespeare in Love. Remember Gwenth Paltrow pretending to be a man so that she can act? Well this is pretty much the opposite and not all lovey dovey as one might think. (A brief relief)

Taking the English stage by storm is Billy Crudup’s character Edward Kynaston a master actor in all feminine roles, in a time when it was illegal for a woman to even stand on stage. He had build his career on female parts but when King Charles decree that women are allowed to perform and men are banned from playing all female roles, he suddenly faces an identity crisis. (I kid you not) His dresser Maria (Clair Danes) who secretly has a passion for acting is suddenly thrust into the spotlight, being one of the first females to act on the English stage. A bitter Kynaston finds himself jobless, soulless, and lost about who his is.

I find it has a unique approach on the ins and outs of acting. It shows the process of acting, just like showing how an artist paints. It also deals with a strange mix of bisexual and homosexual identity during the time period. If a man was trained to play a woman all his life, would he have questions about his sexuality? Well I’m not the best person to explain this, and if you’re scratching your head and this, either intrigued or just weirded out, then I suggest you see this movie. Billy Crudup definitely brought a wonderful complexity to his characters that others could not do. And the best part is in the beginning and end sequence where Shakespeare’s play Othello is brilliantly portrayed in two different ways.

PS: Rupert Everett is the funniest King Charles I’ve ever seen.

Rated R for sexual themes.

For the intrigued Check out IMBD for more Info and trailers.



February 23, 2009 at 10:18 PM

hmm very very interesting from the pictures it looks gorgeous. I did like Shakespeare in Love though from what you wrote it resembles a lot of Chinese Peking/BeiJing Opera in which only men acted and men played woman's roles too. Probably unrelated but there is a movie about it called "Farewell my Concubine."

Your post makes me think... that's always good... =D


February 24, 2009 at 6:17 PM

I'll have to check it out. Last night I watched Nights in Rodanthe with Richard Gere and Diane Lane. I bawled..lol. I recommend it.