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Love's Labour's Lost

Love's Labour's Lost (2000)

tomatometer

37

Average Rating: 4.8/10
Critic Reviews: 19
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 12

Interesting idea, poor execution.

audience

40

liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 3,656

My Rating

Movie Info

Actor/director Kenneth Branagh sets his screen version of Shakespeare's play in the 1930s, adding such classic songs as "They Can't Take That Away From Me," "The Way You Look Tonight," and "Let's Face the Music and Dance," and staging it in the manner of a Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musical. The King of Navarre (Allesandro Nivola) and three of his noblemen (Branagh, Matthew Lillard, and Adrien Lester) have decided that they're wasting their time chasing women. They swear a solemn oath to spend

PG,

Drama, Romance, Musical & Performing Arts, Comedy

Kenneth Branagh

Dec 19, 2000

Miramax Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (66) | Top Critics (19) | Fresh (32) | Rotten (32) | DVD (7)

A luscious labor of love.

July 6, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An act of double homage to antique artifice.

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

Maybe Kenneth Branagh should have left the Hollywood musical where he found it, back in the 1930s.

February 21, 2004 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Everybody in Love's Labour's Lost tries so hard to please, they frequently lose track of the matter at hand, to say nothing of the dialogue.

January 1, 2000 | Comment (1)
Film.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A double travesty -- a triple one, actually, if you consider the quality of the singing and dancing.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The froth quickly curdles.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A noble experiment that didn't quite work out.

January 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

It may not be 'hip', but it's definitely enjoyable and it's a shame that there isn't more scope for genuine musical talents like Lester to utilise their gifts in modern cinema.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

We all know who's going to pair off with whom in the end, but Branagh does get us there in some considerable style.

July 6, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Alicia Silverstone was better as Batgirl than in this piece of garbage. I don't think she even understood what she was saying.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Branagh takes one of Shakespeare's lesser-known plays and puts his own imaginative spin on the subject.

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

Devices meant to keep Shakespeare user-friendly instead reduce the story to a jumble.

June 6, 2003 Full Review
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)

Casting Silverstone as the princess gives final proof of Branagh's temporary (one hopes) insanity.

May 14, 2003
Palo Alto Weekly

Love's Labour's Lost wasn't lost on me at all; if I could float into the air, singing 'Cheek to Cheek' with total, unabashed sincerity, I probably would.

January 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Nick's Flick Picks
Nick's Flick Picks

It's a delightful blend of past styles and songs that adds a much-needed zest to a dry and dreary movie season.

November 22, 2002 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Branagh covers all the plot points, uses heroically long takes for the dance numbers and oversees an enormously talented group of designers and costumers.

June 5, 2002 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

It's never hugely engaging and it's instantly forgettable, but it has a certain goofy charm...

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

A masterpiece that merges the Bard's bittersweet wisdom with the wit, style, and idealism of '30s Hollywood musicals.

March 24, 2002 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

A delightful romantic comedy with musical numbers by Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and George Gershwin.

March 13, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

The most exultant epiphany of romantic celebration I've seen in a film--ever.

March 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Matinee Magazine
Matinee Magazine

Might have worked a little better on stage, and with a few different actors.

February 28, 2002 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

A number of the actors surprise and beguile.

January 28, 2002 Full Review Source: Movieline
Movieline

Branagh has some terrific sight gags up his sleeve, and the songs themselves are absolutely wonderful.

December 10, 2001 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Audience Reviews for Love's Labour's Lost

Branagh's idea is to conjoin Shakespearean comedy with 1930's era Hollywood musicals ... what could go wrong? At first I felt as if I were having a tooth pulled, without novacaine. The performances? I remembered the Freudian nightmare of appearing in public naked and finally concluded the cast was far, far braver than I. By the finale it didn't hurt as bad ... but no one will be pleased with this. Only Nathan Lane manages to escape completely unscathed.
April 27, 2012
ApeneckFletcher

Super Reviewer

One of the kind of films that you wished you could love more than you actually do. Because they don't really do anything wrong. They take Shakespeare's play and put it into the 1930s musical era, with all the singing, dancing and water ballet that comes with it. The songs are more or less familiar, some performances really fun and good, others somewhat boring. The cast is great, only Matthew Lillard feels like the odd man out, the set pieces and design rather lovely. It's hard to say why the film didn't work for me anyway. Sometimes it was hard to keep track why things were happening the way they turned out, and I usually didn't have a problem with Shakespeare's language. I felt a bit let down after all, only the ending was rather sweet. I suppose it's one for Musical or Shakespeare fanatics, everyone else feel free to skip. Sadly.
June 15, 2009
ironclad1609

Super Reviewer

Okay, so this Branagh go at Shakespeare may leave out a lot of the Bard's words, but the spirit is definitely there. Strictly speaking, in the classic sense, comedy does not necessarily equal ha-ha funny. To put it in truly simplistic terms, comedy has only to follow a certain path. With tragedy in the classic sense, there is the trajectory of rise and fall, whereas with comedy, there is fall and rise -- with or without yucks. One need only compare Branagh's attempt with that of the BBC's complete dramatic works of Shakespeare attempt, to see that Branagh has infused the play with the proper spirit, the lively humor it should have. The BBC attempt is so droningly unpleasant -- although much truer to the text -- that it feels in the aftermath like a disheartening tragedy. As I've said before, I hope Branagh does all of Shakespeare's plays before he blows out the candle. Every one of his productions breathes vibrant bright life into the plays, closer to the text or not. I think if Shakespeare saw this adaptation, he'd love it.
December 3, 2008
binky013

Super Reviewer

So bad, it's almost good...but then I regain consciousness and have to put on Singin' in the Rain to get that murky taste out of my brain.
June 15, 2008
aliceinpunderland

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Verlorene Liebesmüh' (DE)
  • Love's Labours Lost (UK)
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