Love's Labour's Lost Reviews

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Super Reviewer
April 27, 2012
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.
Super Reviewer
June 15, 2009
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.
Super Reviewer
November 26, 2008
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.
Super Reviewer
June 15, 2008
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.
Super Reviewer
May 24, 2008
Love's Labour's Lost, is a good musical directed by Kenneth Branagh. A light haerted musical that takes place in the 1930's where things are care free. A few men become attreacted to a few dames and it continues with many nice dance numbers.
Super Reviewer
November 9, 2007
This is an interesting film in the Shakespeare Company collection. Love the music. Love the noir-esque!
½ July 28, 2012
I watched this years ago and the only thing that I remember about it are the ridiculous and numerous musical dance numbers. The story wasn't too awful but the singing and dancing was pretty bad.
½ March 31, 2008
The colors are nice. The music is nice but this piece is not as good as Brannaugh's other productions.
December 27, 2007
I really enjoyed this film and thought it was a magnificent effort by Branagh, but it's definitely an acquired taste.
October 7, 2007
My least favourite of Kenneth's directing/starring in sort of films. Although many of the songs were rather catchy, the play just isn't one of the Bard's best. Can't really blame Ken for that. I love "I'd Rather Charleston" and any song Nathan Lane sung. He was fantastic. xD
August 10, 2007
One of my all time favorites! I could watch it over and over! The actors all ACTUALLY sang their parts. To Irving Berlin and Cole just can't go wrong!
January 1, 2007
this isnt a lot like shakespeare. but this movie is funny. they had a lot of fun making it. watch it with your family. and the outtakes are funny. theyre even funnier than the movie i think.
October 10, 2006
Love how they put such a great twist on thie shakespearian play...the music goes with it SOOO well...keneth did an AWSOME job....great movie
September 18, 2006
Big, bold movie musical version of Shakespeare's comedy is good but not for everyone. The point-of-no-return moment is the first song: if you're not into it by the end of the song, you may as well stop watching.
½ August 31, 2015
I think you either love or hate this movie. I loved it! The Shakespeare play part of the movie is very abridged and the gaps left are filed in with faux newsreel footage and 1930's song and dance. Somehow it all works and brings you into the spirit of Love's Labour's Lost and makes this comedy (which is considered flawed and not one of Shakepeare's best) understandable and accessible.
½ August 26, 2015
Surprisingly light on substance.

A Kenneth Branagh written-and-directed adaptation of the Shakespeare play. Set in WW2 for the movie, The King of Navarre and his three best friends have sworn off wine, women and song for three years, in the interests of studying. But then the beautiful princess of France, and her equally-lovely ladies-in-waiting arrive, and their oaths are quickly and sorely tested...

Fun and funny at times but ultimately quite empty. It is short to begin with - about 85 minutes. Then you have the fact that this version is a musical and the amount of actual movie time is even shorter. In the end it just seems so full of empty schmaltz, fluff and padding. Reasonably moving ending though.

On the subject of the music, I generally dislike musicals but the choice of music here is pretty good: George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Kern and Hammerstein, Irving Berlin. While I would still have preferred no musical numbers - it just wrecks any plausibility and continuity - it could have been a lot worse.

Decent cast - Branagh, Alicia Silverstone, Alessandro Nivola, Natascha McElhone, Emily Mortimer, Nathan Lane, Timothy Spall - who put in solid performances. Don't know what Matthew Lillard is doing there though (note that I didn't include him in the "decent cast" list). He is conspicuous by his lack of acting skills and should stick to C-grade frat farces.
½ October 30, 2014
It's an okay movie, but lacks benefit from the Shakespeare story.
February 13, 2014
Yes, sometimes it's uneven. Yes, Alicia Silverstone is ehhh. But this is hilarious brilliance of Shakespeare, Cole Porter, and Branagh. What's better than that?
½ March 3, 2013
Despite rather bland dancing, the sometimes undercooked plot that feels like a lesser version of 'Much Ado About Nothing' and the lack of a full blown ending setpiece, there's a charm and likeability to Branagh's fusion of Shakespeare and Old Hollywood Musicals, thanks to a game cast obviously having fun in their roles, many of whom hold a tune really well, colourful Technicolor-esque sets and visuals, and of course, the songs themselves are still as fun and timeless as ever.
January 31, 2012
exceptionally mediocre!
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