The Oscar-winning film Shakespeare in Love is a tongue-in-cheek romantic comedy about the young playwright and his struggle with writer's block during the staging of his latest play, Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter. Complicating matters, he falls in love with Viola De Lesseps, a beautiful young woman with a secret desire to be an actress. She disguises herself as a man to audition for his all-male play and Shakespeare unknowingly casts her in the lead role. Gwenyth Paltrow received an Oscar for her gender-bending portrayal of Viola. The agony of Shakespeare's ill-fated romance with the already-engaged Viola leads to several rewrites of the play, changing the pirate comedy into the tragic romance Romeo and Juliet.
Written by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, the dialogue is full of hilarious and remarkable allusions to Shakespeare's work. The story offers a fascinating fictional imagining of Shakespeare and the world surrounding his work.
Directed by John Madden (1998). Rated R.