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Shakespeare in Love

Year: 1998
Studio: Miramax
Director: John Madden
Producer: Marc Norman
Writer: Marc Norman/Tom Stoppard
Cast: Joseph Fiennes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Geoffrey Rush, Ben Affleck, Judi Dench, Colin Firth

Miramax's great white hope for the 1999 Oscars, this film is a funny, sweet and skewed look at the life and times of the famous bard that supposes his inspiration for Romeo and Juliet. The performances are as good as can be expected all round although Rush is a bit too Python-esque.

It's not entirely clear at all times what's going on so it lags at times, but the passion between the charismatic leads is engaging, and Dench's appearance portrays her usual regal presence. It also wisely avoids a sloppy Hollywood ending by injecting a beautiful, heartbreaking moment that's enough to make anyone fall in love with Paltrow and which would have ruined the whole film if it had been done any other way.

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