Love’s Labours Lost
I very rarely feel the need to critique on movies but, having just watched the 2000 Kenneth Branagh version of Loves Labours Lost on Saturday, I felt compelled to put fingers to keyboard. It’s a great starter if you want to polish up your Shakespeare!
I’m not sure about the rest of the world, but here in the UK when I was at High School (between the age of 11 and 16) I was expected to study at least two of Shakespeare’s plays per school year. I absolutely adored English and enjoyed most of the classic novels and poetry that we had to study, but I just couldn’t get my head around Shakespeare.
Maybe it didn’t help that the class (consisting of around 30 girls) each had a text book from which our English teacher got each of us in turn to read part of it. She would pick someone from the class to read a small section and then, before moving onto to next, would try and explain what was going on. This made it all very dull but fortunately I managed to absorb sufficient information to get me a good pass in English Literature.
Over the years we studied what were deemed to be suitable plays for the delicate ears of young, impressionable girls and included A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Macbeth and, in my final year, Romeo and Juliet.
If only we’d had the benefit of modern films such as Kenneth Branagh’s version of Loves Labours Lost, I might actually have understood a bit more about the play.
I did get to see a very serious traditional Elizabethan style film of Romeo and Juliet during my final year at school, but this wasn’t particularly inspiring as it followed the original play to the letter.
I appreciate that Loves Labours Lost may not be everybody’s cup of tea but if you enjoy 1930s Hollywood musicals, love a good farcical tale and want to get a little bit of an insight into what Shakespeare’s all about, then this is the movie for you. It revolves around several romances that all somehow become utterly confused and entangled but, needless to say, everything pans out in the end. The script itself is, basically, in the Shakespeare style but it’s all done incredibly well so as not to become too dull or bogged down in the dialogue.
There are no expensive locations involved – the scenery is very much 1930s musical style – but somehow it all just seems to fit.
Apart from being a wonderful musical extravaganza and comedic yarn, it also has a lovely weepy bit towards the end which is obviously based around the onset of the Second World War, so ensure you have the tissues to hand!!
Of course, Kenneth Branagh himself is cast in the film but if you like Alicia Silverstone, Natascha McElhone, Emily Mortimer, Richard Briers, Geraldine McEwan (of Harry Potter fame!), or Timothy Spall then it may well be worth a look. I suspect it’ll be more of a girlie film than a lad’s night in type movie.
I’ve always respected the talents of Kenneth Branagh but, to my mind, this was one of the best Shakespeare renditions of his I had seen.
As far as the musical element is concerned, do you remember Let’s Face the Music and Dance, I’ve Got a Crush on You, They Can’t Take That Away From Me? If so, then this is most definitely the indulgence you need, especially if you’re going through a Bridget Jones situation; stuck at home feeling sorry for yourself, stuffing your face with chocolates and drinking copious amounts of wine!!!