Our Rating: ★★★☆☆
L Factor: Gender Bender
Short Take: It’s 16th century London, and a young noblewoman dreams of acting. She must pass as a man to land a role on stage.
Alternate Titles:
Year: 1998
Duration: 123 min
Language: USA, UK/English
MPAA: R
Director: John Madden
Writer: Marc Norman, Tom Stoppard
Starring: Geoffrey Rush, Tom Wilkinson, Steven O’Donnell, Tim McMullan, Joseph Fiennes, Steven Beard, Antony Sher, Patrick Barlow, Martin Clunes, Sandra Reinton, Simon Callow, Judi Dench, Bridget McConnell, Georgie Glen, Nicholas Boulton

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Shakespeare in LoveIt’s 16th century London under the reign of Queen Elizabeth (Judi Dench). Will Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) is broke and a struggling playwright looking for his muse. Viola De Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow) is a young noblewoman who loves the theater and dreams of acting. But in Elizabethan England, women were not allowed to act, and young men took on the roles of women on stage. This doesn’t stop Viola, as she dresses up as a man, and ‘Thomas’ lands the role of Romeo in ‘Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter.’

At the same time, Viola falls in love with Will, although she is to marry a Lord in a loveless arranged marriage, and he already has a wife in Stratford. By night, Will and Viola carry on a clandestine love affair. By day, Will and Thomas rehearse, and Will is inspired to write the masterpiece of ‘Romeo and Juliet.’

No lesbian content. In fact, this is a love story between Viola and Will, but it makes this list because of the cross dressing character of Thomas. Also stars Geoffrey Rush and Ben Affleck. Both Paltrow and Dench won Oscars for their performances. (AB)