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A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999)

tomatometer

67

Average Rating: 6.3/10
Reviews Counted: 78
Fresh: 52 | Rotten: 26

Faultless production and shining performances display the Bard's talent propitiously.

50

Average Rating: 5.4/10
Critic Reviews: 22
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 11

Faultless production and shining performances display the Bard's talent propitiously.

audience

60

liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 74,276

My Rating

Movie Info

With William Shakespeare now a hot commodity at the box office (and his body of work conveniently out of copyright), the usual trickle of film adaptations of the Bard's work is becoming a small flood, and director Michael Hoffman has assembled a cast of leading stage and screen actors for this whimsical film version of one of Shakespeare's most popular comedies. This interpretation of A Midsummer Night's Dream moves the action to Tuscany near the turn of the 20th century, as both mortals and

Apr 17, 2001

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All Critics (85) | Top Critics (25) | Fresh (52) | Rotten (26) | DVD (12)

I remain skeptical about the ability of even the best American actors to read Shakespeare's lines without giving the impression that they are enduring very painful cultural root canal work.

April 27, 2007 Full Review Source: New York Observer | Comment (1)
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Injecting the film with fun and pathos, Kline makes a superb Bottom; it's his play and he acts it to the hilt.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If there is sacrilege afoot, I'm not enough of a scholar to spot it.

July 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film is never a chore to watch, but others have done better by the Bard.

November 6, 2002 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Unfortunately, despite the wonderful locations, sets, costumes, and strong acting, this adaptation has a strange lack of magic or chemistry between players.

June 23, 2002 Full Review Source: CNN.com
CNN.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Hoffman charts a middle course, and travels it quite well -- his version is neither as elaborately baroque as Max Reinhardt's 1935 film treatment nor as starkly sexual as Peter Brooks's celebrated 1970 staging.

March 19, 2002 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What fools these mortals be -- especially anyone who passes up Michael Hoffman's highly entertaining version of Shakespeare's famous comedy.

April 7, 2012 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Sumptuous version, both earthy and enchanted.

December 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Your high school English teacher would approve, and parts are terrifically enjoyable.

July 4, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide | Comment (1)
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Bathed in sunshine, stardust and star power, this 'Dream' should be required viewing for anyone who insists Shakespeare is stuffy and dull. ...this is Shakespeare for the masses.

August 5, 2007 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

It has fun and makes you laugh.

June 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

The execution of the Bard's comic work is less than sparkling.

April 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

It's a wildly entertaining romp that should delight fans of this year's Oscar-winner Shakespeare in Love.

April 7, 2004
Jam! Movies

As a movie, unfortunately, it doesn't quite jive.

May 22, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Blather
Film Blather

What joy to hear an entire film audience roar with glee at Moonshine, Lion and Wall.

May 20, 2003
Palo Alto Weekly

Michael Hoffman's adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream is a delightful way to spend the summer solstice evening, or any other, for that matter.

February 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Quips Online
Film Quips Online

Hoffman, who did the adaptation himself, cuts and pastes portions of the play into his movie with a clunky hand. And the avalanche of star power nearly sinks the ship.

April 3, 2002 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Sporting a shamelessly commercial all-star cast and textually shorn to make a comfortable, diverting two-hour flick, it's the lack of intellectual pretensions that finally makes this version so endearing.

March 3, 2002 Full Review Source: Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound

I felt like a kid on the outside of the club house looking in -- and not seeing anything through the window that made me feel like I was missing out.

September 16, 2001 Full Review Source: Hollywood Report Card
Hollywood Report Card

This film adaptation of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," just might be the best one ever made.

August 14, 2001 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Audience Reviews for A Midsummer Night's Dream

As a rule, I dont like to watch any William Shakespeare adaptations until I have read the play first. Having just finished reading this classic comedy/love story, I was eager to see it on screen like I am of any of the screen adaptations of his wonderful works. This however, isn't as good as the great master deserves.
While preparing for the wedding of Duke Theseus (David Strathairn) to Hippolyta (Sophie Marceau) a group of actors including Bottom the Weaver (Kevin Kline) rehearse an amature play for the forthcoming betrothal while forbidden lovers Hermia (Anna Friel) and Lysander (Dominic West) run away together, pursued by Demetrius (Christian Bale) and Helena (Calista Flockhart). Meanwhile, in another part of the forest, Faerie King Oberon (Rupert Everett) wants to get at his wife Queen Titania (Michelle Pfeiffer). He dispatches malicious 'sprite' Puck (Stanley Tucci) on a mission to humiliate his Queen. En route Puck can't resist messing with the mortals lost in the woods also, ensuring all sorts of confusion.
Director Michael Hoffman's take transports us from ancient Greece to late-19th-century Italy (complete with newly invented bicycles) and I have to say, it works. The sets and costumes are absolutely stunning, drawing you into the magical and mystical land of the faeries. He addresses it with the same playful tone that Kenneth Branagh captured for his adaptation of "Much Ado About Nothing" and also like that, uses the same mix of both American and British actors who are perfectly suited to their roles. It's a lush and extravagant production, infused with Shakespeare's humour but something doesn't quite click. The mock Pyramus play at end is way overlong and almost grinds the film to halt. The only positive is that this is when the underused Sam Rockwell gets a chance to contribute something, but by then it's too little too late. As David Strathairn's 'Theseus' says around this time "No epilogue I pray you..." if only he'd said this 15 mins earlier, we could have had a satisfying ending.
It's classic Shakespeare that, shockingly, hasn't had a decent adaptation yet. This is the best so far, but for fans of the great playwrite only.
It captures the look but doesn't quite capture the heart.
June 2, 2011
MrMarakai

Super Reviewer

A great take on a Shakespeare classic. Full review later.
April 10, 2011
TomBowler
Thomas Bowler

Super Reviewer

Anyone can reinvent the Bard and go willy nilly with their own interpretation, but this production kept most of the message intact. With excellent casting and memorable scenes, this is a version that I adhere to as a success.
November 24, 2010
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

More visually pleasing than Avatar,this production adds more emotion, depth, and fun to the story than past productions, and there is a combination of good music and fine acting, most notably by Stanley Tucci.
March 6, 2010
Kyle F.
Kyle Fowler

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Ein Sommernachtstraum (DE)
  • William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (UK)
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