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Uneven but enjoyable, Stage Beauty uses historical events as the springboard for a well-acted romance with a charming Shakespearean spin. Read critic reviews

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Stage Beauty Photos

Movie Info

Humble Maria (Claire Danes), who outfits top London theater star Ned Kynaston (Billy Crudup), takes none of the credit for the male actor's success at playing women. And because this is the 17th century, Maria, like other females, is prohibited from pursuing her dream of acting. But when powerful people support her, King Charles II (Rupert Everett) lifts the ban on female stage performers. And just as Maria aided Ned, she needs his help to learn her new profession.

Cast & Crew

Billy Crudup
Ned Kynaston
Rupert Everett
King Charles II
Ben Chaplin
George Villiars, Duke of Buckingham
Hugh Bonneville
Samuel Pepys
Richard Griffiths
Sir Charles Sedley
Edward Fox
Sir Edward Hyde
Zoe Tapper
Nell Gwynn
Claire Higgins
Mistress Revels
Robert Dreyer
Co-Producer
Michael Kuhn
Executive Producer
George Fenton
Original Music
Andrew Dunn
Cinematographer
Tariq Anwar
Film Editor
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Critic Reviews for Stage Beauty

All Critics (127) | Top Critics (47) | Fresh (81) | Rotten (46)

Audience Reviews for Stage Beauty

  • May 02, 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.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Oct 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.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 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.
    Conner R Super Reviewer
  • Sep 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!
    Cynthia S Super Reviewer

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