William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream

1999, Comedy, 1h 56m

79 Reviews 50,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

Faultless production and shining performances display the Bard's talent propitiously. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

This version of the renowned comedic play finds the world of humans intersecting with the realm of magic. The lovely Hermia (Anna Friel) is to wed Demetrius (Christian Bale), but she truly cares for Lysander (Dominic West). Hermia's friend, Helena (Calista Flockhart), is in love with Demetrius, while other romantic entanglements abound in the woods, with married fairy rulers Titania (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Oberon (Rupert Everett) toying with various lovers and each other.

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Critic Reviews for William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream

Audience Reviews for William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream

  • Oct 27, 2012
    Not highbrow -- just weird.
    Christian C Super Reviewer
  • Apr 10, 2011
    A great take on a Shakespeare classic. Full review later.
    Thomas B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 14, 2011
    As a rule, I dont like to watch any William Shakespeare adaptations until I have read the play first. Having just finished reading this classic comedy/love story, I was eager to see it on screen like I am of any of the screen adaptations of his wonderful works. This however, isn't as good as the great master deserves. While preparing for the wedding of Duke Theseus (David Strathairn) to Hippolyta (Sophie Marceau) a group of actors including Bottom the Weaver (Kevin Kline) rehearse an amature play for the forthcoming betrothal while forbidden lovers Hermia (Anna Friel) and Lysander (Dominic West) run away together, pursued by Demetrius (Christian Bale) and Helena (Calista Flockhart). Meanwhile, in another part of the forest, Faerie King Oberon (Rupert Everett) wants to get at his wife Queen Titania (Michelle Pfeiffer). He dispatches malicious 'sprite' Puck (Stanley Tucci) on a mission to humiliate his Queen. En route Puck can't resist messing with the mortals lost in the woods also, ensuring all sorts of confusion. Director Michael Hoffman's take transports us from ancient Greece to late-19th-century Italy (complete with newly invented bicycles) and I have to say, it works. The sets and costumes are absolutely stunning, drawing you into the magical and mystical land of the faeries. He addresses it with the same playful tone that Kenneth Branagh captured for his adaptation of "Much Ado About Nothing" and also like that, uses the same mix of both American and British actors who are perfectly suited to their roles. It's a lush and extravagant production, infused with Shakespeare's humour but something doesn't quite click. The mock Pyramus play at end is way overlong and almost grinds the film to halt. The only positive is that this is when the underused Sam Rockwell gets a chance to contribute something, but by then it's too little too late. As David Strathairn's 'Theseus' says around this time "No epilogue I pray you..." if only he'd said this 15 mins earlier, we could have had a satisfying ending. It's classic Shakespeare that, shockingly, hasn't had a decent adaptation yet. This is the best so far, but for fans of the great playwrite only. It captures the look but doesn't quite capture the heart.
    Mark W Super Reviewer
  • Dec 18, 2010
    While slow and inconsistant in its story at points, the film remains a well-acted and faithful adaptation of Shakespeare's fun, classic comic relief.
    Cameron J Super Reviewer

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