Twelfth Night


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.


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Movie Info

This loose adaptation of Shakespeare's enduring but seldom-filmed comedy of merry and ribald romantic mix-ups comes from Trevor Nunn, distinguished director for the Royal Shakespearean Theatre, and features some of Great Britain's finest actors. Nunn has wrought a few major changes to the tale, updating it to the late 19th century and setting it during autumn. The language has also been somewhat simplified. Following a terrible shipwreck, bedraggled Viola washes up on the shores of Illyria, a country at war with her own. Believing that her twin brother Sebastian has drowned, and knowing that as a woman she would not survive on her own, she whacks off her hair, dons a moustache and masquerades as Cesario, a boy. She gets a job working for the dashing Duke Orsino and as his page begins pitching woo to the lovely and recently widowed Lady Olivia. The trouble brews when Olivia finds herself falling in love, not with Orsino, but with Cesario/Viola who herself has fallen in love with Orsino. More trouble follows when Sebastian arrives.

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Critic Reviews for Twelfth Night

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (11)

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

Jul 6, 2008
Top Critic

The direction is assured, and the cast is masterly.

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

A comic meditation on desire, disguise and inherent bisexuality.

May 20, 2003

An entertaining movie. No more, no less.

Apr 12, 2002 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

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

Feb 14, 2001 | Full Review…

Bonham Carter, who has grown wonderfully as an actress, walks the thin line between love and comedy...

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Twelfth Night


Twelfth Night is passable. While some of the performances are a bit silly, nothing about the film is terrible. Rather the problem is that the parts are not played with much harmony. However, Helena Bonham Carter's acting, as always, is delectable.

Robert Brogan
Robert Brogan

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
Sunil Jawahir

Super Reviewer

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
Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

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