Stage Beauty (2004)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
It's the 1660s, and Edward 'Ned' Kynaston is England's most celebrated leading lady. Women are forbidden to appear on stage and Ned profits, using his beauty and skill to make the great female roles his own. But King Charles II is tired of seeing the same old performers in the same old tragedies. Since no one will take him up on his suggestion to improve Othello with a couple of good jokes, he decides to liven the royal palate by allowing real women to tread the boards. In a slightly less progressive spirit, he rules that men may no longer play women's parts. This is good news for the monarch's mistress, the saucy, stage-struck Nell Gwyn. It is also good news for Maria, Kynaston's lovelorn young dresser who has been secretly performing at a seedy tavern in lavish costumes borrowed from her employer. It is very bad news for Ned, who plummets from his exalted position as one of London's most desirable females to become a virtual nobody, virtually overnight. Cast out of the spotlight, Ned seems headed for burlesque obscurity until Maria, now a rising star, takes it upon herself to make a man of him again. … More
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as Ned Kynaston
as King Charles II
as Thomas Betterton
as George Villiers, Du...
as Samuel Pepys
as Sir Charles Sedley
as Nell Gwyn
as Sir Peter Lely
as Mistress Revels
as Call Boy
as Stage Manager
as Male Emilia/Dickie
as Miss Frayne
as Lady Meresvale
as Thomas Cockerell
as Lady Jane Bellamy
as 1st Thug
as 2nd Thug
as 3rd Thug
as Mrs. Barry
as Female Emilia
News & Interviews for Stage Beauty
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Critic Reviews for Stage Beauty
The attraction to Stage Beauty is that it is just as much a campy comedy as it is an elegant drama.
It's a Restoration romantic comedy that struggles with the romance and isn't nearly comic enough.
Has a weird, compelling energy, fueled by a deliciously dynamic cast, a cheerfully bawdy and odd story line and a refreshing, impossible romance.
"Stage Beauty" has the grace and charm of a great play. It has its acts, its drama and its comedy.
Audience Reviews for Stage Beauty
Drag actor Ned Kynaston's career is ruined when Charles II reopens the theaters and allows women to appear on stage.
The historical inaccuracies of this film are distracting, but the performances by Billy Crudup and Claire Danes make the film worth watching. Crudup captures how Ned Kynaston's gender confusion extends both on stage and in his personal life, and his scenes with Danes are compelling.
What holds this film back, more than its inability to capture the spirit of its time the way The Libertine did, is the film's inability to fully explore how sexually and gender interact with societal constraints. The film could be saying that gender and sexuality are socially constructed, but this theme doesn't reach fruition.
Overall, I dislike this film mostly because of its wasted potential.
The ultimate gender confusion/sexual identity movie. I found myself liking this a great deal more than the beloved Shakespeare in Love (which I don't understand), it deals with theatre history in a way that isn't corny. Billy Crudup's performance is almost scary, his female withdrawals were extremely believable. I would say that the only bad parts of the movie are the exaggeration of some characters and the fact that there are a ridiculous amount of pointless subplots going on.
One of my favorite Billy Crudup movies (the other-- Almost Famous). He does a fabulous performance where he is sexy, beautiful, sad and the audience truly connects with him on his venture to finding himself. Claire Danes is a perfect counterpart in her role. I don't know whom to recommend this film to, because I think a it is either a love or hate film...I loved it!
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