Love's Labour's Lost (2000)
Love's Labour's Lost (2000)
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Critic Reviews for Love's Labour's Lost
Maybe Kenneth Branagh should have left the Hollywood musical where he found it, back in the 1930s.
Worst of all perhaps is Lost's smug air of pleasure at how clever it thinks it's being.
Audience Reviews for Love's Labour's Lost
Branagh's idea is to conjoin Shakespearean comedy with 1930's era Hollywood musicals ... what could go wrong? At first I felt as if I were having a tooth pulled, without novacaine. The performances? I remembered the Freudian nightmare of appearing in public naked and finally concluded the cast was far, far braver than I. By the finale it didn't hurt as bad ... but no one will be pleased with this. Only Nathan Lane manages to escape completely unscathed.
One of the kind of films that you wished you could love more than you actually do. Because they don't really do anything wrong. They take Shakespeare's play and put it into the 1930s musical era, with all the singing, dancing and water ballet that comes with it. The songs are more or less familiar, some performances really fun and good, others somewhat boring. The cast is great, only Matthew Lillard feels like the odd man out, the set pieces and design rather lovely. It's hard to say why the film didn't work for me anyway. Sometimes it was hard to keep track why things were happening the way they turned out, and I usually didn't have a problem with Shakespeare's language. I felt a bit let down after all, only the ending was rather sweet. I suppose it's one for Musical or Shakespeare fanatics, everyone else feel free to skip. Sadly.
Okay, so this Branagh go at Shakespeare may leave out a lot of the Bard's words, but the spirit is definitely there. Strictly speaking, in the classic sense, comedy does not necessarily equal ha-ha funny. To put it in truly simplistic terms, comedy has only to follow a certain path. With tragedy in the classic sense, there is the trajectory of rise and fall, whereas with comedy, there is fall and rise -- with or without yucks.
One need only compare Branagh's attempt with that of the BBC's complete dramatic works of Shakespeare attempt, to see that Branagh has infused the play with the proper spirit, the lively humor it should have. The BBC attempt is so droningly unpleasant -- although much truer to the text -- that it feels in the aftermath like a disheartening tragedy.
As I've said before, I hope Branagh does all of Shakespeare's plays before he blows out the candle. Every one of his productions breathes vibrant bright life into the plays, closer to the text or not. I think if Shakespeare saw this adaptation, he'd love it.
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