Stage Beauty - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Stage Beauty Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ May 2, 2014
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.
Super Reviewer
½ February 12, 2011
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.
Super Reviewer
September 14, 2010
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!
Super Reviewer
March 3, 2010
I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. I really wasn't sure what to expect going in but I enjoyed it. It was a little hard to get into but it picked up and sucked me in after a while.
Super Reviewer
½ September 29, 2009
Stage Beauty is another adaptation of a play. Yawn? Well don't, because it also happens to make a highly successful transition from stage to screen thanks to the genius that is director Richard Eyre.

It tells the tale of Ned (Billy Crudup), a young actor who specialises in portraying women on stage. In a world where only men are allowed to tread the boards, Ned's "Desdemona" (from Shakespeare's Othello) is the closest thing 17th century audiences get to femininity in theatre. However, a young upstart in the form of Maria (played by Clare Danes) wants to change all that. She has a passion for drama and unfortunately the bisexual Ned. With the help of King Charles II (Rupert Everett), she may just get her wish, changing theatre forever, and hopefully pick up Ned on the way.

When thinking of the themes of the film, many people dismiss it as a clone of Shakespeare in Love. This is unfair- the film is more thought provoking, substantial and better acted than the aforementioned Oscar snaffler. It explores themes of sexuality and gender with insight and intelligence as well as telling (and, in fact enthralling us with) a love story. As previously referred to, the acting is exceptional, especially the two leads (Danes and Crudup) who shine. The supporting cast is strong too, with Richard Griffiths as a heterosexual prequel to his role in Withnail and I, Tom Wilkinson brimming with quiet intensity as Betterton and Everett hamming it up wonderfully as the King.

Even if it does end on a slightly trite note (not to give too much away, but its' "birth of method acting" shtick irritates), Stage Beauty is a funny, heart-warming and occasionally quite cerebral meditation on love and art. What more could any theatre, or film lover for that matter, want? And don't say Shakespeare In Love!
Super Reviewer
½ August 16, 2008
Pretty nice but after watching the special features, I was appalled to know how little this movie was researched. Anachronisms don't work if you ground the rest of the film in reality.
Super Reviewer
March 6, 2007
An annoying, pretentious, anemic drama about awkwardly-utilized crossdressing and Claire Danes. These two things spell certain doom for your movie, especially when used in tandem.

Everyone in this movie sounds as if they inhaled helium and put on the most obnoxious accent conceivable to the human ear. Try listening to that for an hour and a half.
Super Reviewer
½ December 2, 2005
[font=Century Gothic]"Stage Beauty" takes place in Restoration England when women were forbidden from performing on the stage. This is very fortunate for Ned Kynaston(Billy Crudup), since he has become one of the most acclaimed actors around, playing women in the theatre. His latest role is Desdemona in Othello. His dresser, Maria(Claire Danes), has theatrical ambitions of her own and is starring as Desdemona in a less reputable establishment across the street. Her performance comes to the attention of King Charles II(Rupert Everett) who rules that women can perform on the stage, thus giving Kynaston some heated competition.[/font]
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[font=Century Gothic]"Stage Beauty" is an intelligent, witty film that is about an actor's craft and what goes into creating a role. There is also some very good historical and period detail. I especially liked that it did not avoid the characters' sexuality.[/font]
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[font=Century Gothic]Billy Crudup, himself an acclaimed stage actor(I saw him in "Arcadia" on Broadway several years ago), does a very fine job. Rupert Everett is magnificiently sublime. But I am still trying to figure out Claire Danes. The supporting cast including Tom Wilkinson, Edward Fox and Ben Chaplin(where have you been?) help immensely. [/font]
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[font=Century Gothic]I cannot help but be reminded of the classic "Peking Opera Blues" but "Stage Beauty" is still an improvement over the mediocre "Shakespeare in Love" which also featured Rupert Everett. Overall, the movie is not a total success but several scenes do stand out.[/font]
Super Reviewer
½ October 19, 2012
One can't have too much trouble with the acting. The problem is the entire story. You come out of it wondering what the point of it all is.
Super Reviewer
½ April 25, 2008
A little too Shakespeare in Love but it's really fun and very romantic.
Super Reviewer
½ December 28, 2007
This was surprisingly good.
Super Reviewer
April 21, 2007
This is one of those movies whose plot is just bizarre enough to make it look interesting. Thankfully, the writing and the cast were up to the task and produced a truly enjoyable film. Good stuff...
Super Reviewer
½ April 10, 2007
A personal favorite.
Super Reviewer
½ March 26, 2007
Really fantastic film about the introduction of actresses to the world of theater. An outstanding film with outstanding acting.
January 24, 2016
Near perfection. The chemistry between Danes and Crudup is out of this world. I could feel the odds each character was up against and the struggle they both had / felt. Outstanding movie!!
June 1, 2014
Crudup was amazing in this movie and even Danes put in a good performance by the time this was all over. The ending was so powerful and brilliant that it makes up for the few parts of the story that lag.
½ May 6, 2014
A must see for fans of the theatre - and a decent introduction to stage-life for those that just don't get it (& history buffs too).
December 8, 2012
Well-scored and backed by some good acting. Rupert Everett was amazing as King Charles II and Billy Crudup is always the consumate pro who does not get nearly the respect he deserves.
August 27, 2012
Caught this movie on Showtime last night and I really enjoyed it. Great cast with a standout performance by Billy Crudup, playing a man who plays women (in Elizabethan England). It is actually a little more interesting to me than was 'Shakespeare in Love" as it had dramatic and comic elements which were well balanced. Tom Wilkinson was great as always. Set design, cinematography, casting - all just great! If you have any interest in the stage or Shakespeare, this is really a must see.
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