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A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Year: 1999
Studio: Fox Searchlight
Director: Michael Hoffman
Producer: Michael Hoffman
Writer: Michael Hoffman/William Shakespeare
Cast: Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Everett, Stanley Tucci, Calista Flockhart, Christian Bale, David Strathairn, Sophie Marceau, Sam Rockwell, Anna Friel

Lovingly capturing the lush, dreamlike quality Shakespeare wrote into his satiric fable on the fickle idiosyncracies of the human heart, director Hoffman goes the purist route by presenting the play as Shakespeare wrote it, instead of giving it a groovy postmodern updating for the kids a lá Romeo + Juliet.

While a quartet of humans in ancient Greece thrash in agony and ecstasy in their own love lives, the underworld inhabited by the fairy king and queen and their cohorts and subjects is similarly awhirl with jealousies and lust, spilling over into the humans' world in the form of magical fairy potions and spells.

Written for the screen almost word for word to Shakespeare's vision, some parts don't translate as well as others to the feature film format, but all involved give heartfelt performances and you'd have to be pretty hard hearted not to watch it and not feel some shred of romance at the hopelessness of love and what it does to us.

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