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Twelfth Night: Or What You Will (1998)



Average Rating: 6.8/10
Reviews Counted: 31
Fresh: 23 | Rotten: 8

Director Trevor Nunn makes some questionable choices, but his stellar cast -- which includes Helena Bonham-Carter, Ben Kingsley, and Nigel Hawthorne -- more than rises to the material.


Average Rating: 6.6/10
Critic Reviews: 11
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 3

Director Trevor Nunn makes some questionable choices, but his stellar cast -- which includes Helena Bonham-Carter, Ben Kingsley, and Nigel Hawthorne -- more than rises to the material.



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Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 7,719

My Rating

Movie Info

The classic Shakespearean comedy about mistaken identity and gender confusion is brought to the screen once again in this British production, courtesy of screenwriter-director Trevor Nunn. Nunn has transferred the time period to the Victorian Era of the late 19th century. Two twins, Viola (Imogen Stubbs) and Sebastian (Steven MacKintosh), are separated when their ship capsizes. Each believes that the other has drowned. Viola washes ashore on the coast of Illyria. She disguises herself as a man


Drama, Television, Romance, Art House & International, Comedy

Trevor Nunn

Aug 30, 2005

New Line Home Entertainment

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All Critics (36) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (8) | DVD (4)

A handsome, agreeably performed rendition that fails to ignite much laughter or any real emotion.

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

The direction is assured, and the cast is masterly.

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

A comic meditation on desire, disguise and inherent bisexuality.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An entertaining movie. No more, no less.

April 12, 2002 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Only fitfully do the actors actually seem to become the characters they are playing.

February 14, 2001 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An innovative and imaginatively rendered version of Shakespeare's funniest play.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I started watching the film by thinking, "They should film more of the comedies," and probably They still should, but I ended by thinking, "They really ought to hire movie directors to make movies."

January 8, 2012 Full Review Source: Nick's Flick Picks
Nick's Flick Picks

Where is Preston Sturges when we need him?

July 6, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Why Nunn chose to set this version in the 1890s is a little baffling.

July 6, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

Another fine film version of the Bard's work...

October 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Enquirer

Focuses on the twists and turns in the giddy game of life.

August 28, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Not to be missed.

April 17, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

This is the film to take a Shakespeare fan to see so he will understand why so many people do not care for Shakespeare.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

The adaptation of the text is quite literal, but the passion and the chemistry is not up to par.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Internet Reviews
Internet Reviews

Twelfth Night may be uneven, but is still largely appealing, thanks to the talented cast and the unique design of the film.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

Carter plays the slightly unstable Olivia with comic efficiency.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: San Francisco Examiner
San Francisco Examiner

Nunn has done a very good job of keeping the humor and vitality of Shakespeare intact...

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

The autumn chill suffusing this film is right in line with the play's constant song of death and loss.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Twelfth Night is blessed with a first rate cast, all of whom have bought into Nunn's vision.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Audience Reviews for Twelfth Night: Or What You Will

Light-hearted Shakespeare just as it should be. Pretty much perfectly cast with each actor hitting all the right notes. Still like with most Shakespeare it will never match up to its source material but at least it goes for a fair balance between the theatrical and the cinematic.
March 22, 2008

Super Reviewer

Okay passable Shakespeare like the type that you are usually forced to endure in a high school class but don't remember well beyond the exam on the subject.
December 7, 2012
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Good cast but is just pretty blah and uninteresting.
March 18, 2009

Super Reviewer

I really enjoyied this adaptation. It was much more fun. I just really thought it was great!
January 12, 2009

Super Reviewer

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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Foreign Titles

  • Was ihr wollt (DE)
  • Twelfth Night (1996) (UK)
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