Stage Beauty Reviews
I highly recommend this film. Further, I suggest forgoing your usual TV fare and starting this film early enough in the evening to allow you to see it twice. You'll thank me later.
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.
So it's the story of Crudup being this guy that has trained himself to act like a female, losing his whole line of work and then having to come back and help Danes be able to act; as she finds that her success was more for her being the first female playing a female, than her bad acting.
The film can take some getting used to, but the final half works very well. That final scene both us as viewers, and the audience watching the play, are meant to not be able to tell if they are just acting or the fighting is real. It seemed quite real to me.
Cast is good all around, and for those that care, I believe this is the first time I have ever seen the lovely Danes show some skin.
But I also know this is the movie that finally turned me off to Danes as a person, as her and Crudup started having an affair and he left his very preganant wife...and she then cheated on Crudup for her current husband. None of this has anything to do with the film, but I hate cheaters, so these two actors are not two I enjoy watching. So maybe they were a lot better than I thought is what I am saying. :)