Twelfth Night (1998) - Rotten Tomatoes

Twelfth Night (1998)



Critic Consensus: 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.

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 and assumes the name Cesario so that she can take a position as an aide to the Duke, Orsinio (Toby Stephens). Orsinio desires Olivia (Helena Bonham Carter), who refuses his attentions. He also flirts with Maria (Imelda Staunton), Olivia's maid. Orsinio sends Cesario as an emissary to Olivia. The foppish Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Richard E. Grant) also seeks Olivia's love. He is a friend of her besotted uncle, Sir Toby Belch (Mel Smith). With the clownish philosopher Feste (Ben Kingsley), all these members of Olivia's household plot to embarrass the dour Malvolio (Nigel Hawthorne), a butler who has no tolerance for frivolity. They fool Malvolio into thinking that Olivia desires him, and when he confesses his love, Olivia orders him imprisoned as a madman. Sebastian then turns up and is mistaken for Cesario. A series of mishaps follows.more
Rating: PG
Genre: Drama, Television, Romance, Art House & International, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Trevor Nunn
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 30, 2005
New Line Home Entertainment


Richard E. Grant
as Sir Andrew Aguecheek
Mel Smith
as Sir Toby Belch
Peter Gunn
as Fabian
Jeff Hall
as Gardener
Alan Mitchell
as Valentine
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Twelfth Night

Critic Reviews for Twelfth Night

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (12)

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

Full Review… | July 6, 2008
Top Critic

The direction is assured, and the cast is masterly.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

A comic meditation on desire, disguise and inherent bisexuality.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

An entertaining movie. No more, no less.

Full Review… | April 12, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | February 14, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Stage director Trevor Nunn hasn't exploited it in his film of the chaotic Bard farce, which delivers only fitfully on goodwill the play automatically beckons.

January 1, 2000
USA Today
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Twelfth Night

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.

Luke Baldock

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.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Good cast but is just pretty blah and uninteresting.

Sunil Jawahir

Super Reviewer

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