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You see - comedy. Love, and a bit with a dog. That's what they want.


Shakespeare in Love
(1998)

I'm not a great lover of romantic comedies, but the opprobrium that this receives seems based mainly on Saving Private Ryan losing out to it at the Oscars. And also on the notion that its some kind of Richard Curtis schmaltz-fest. 

On the first count, Ryan's a well-made film from deeply average material (and the Oscar should have gone to that year’s other WWII nominee). On the second, this is far more than just a Four Weddings and a Shakespeare Play (and it doesn't have a happy ending, either). 

An extremely witty screenplay from (mostly) Tom Stoppard is the key ingredient (although in the decade-plus since the film there's been far too many resultant, and inferior, self-referentially witless takes on historical figures, not least from Doctor Who).

*****

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