Reviewed byJoshua T. (niteman)Vote: 8/10/10
Something about Love's Labour's Lost is causing critics to sniff and huffand puff like never before. The dance numbers aren't perfectly in sync andthe music isn't perfectly performed, they sneer. Shakespeare and Gershwindon't mix. It's sheer fluff. It's bizarre.
Thus saith the critics. The forest that they're missing with their shrubsof discontentment is the overwhelming charm and infectuous fun of this sillylittle film. Yes, when Branagh and his cronies do a dance number it isn'tlock-step choreography (one arm a little high, perhaps, one foot off thebeat a bit). When Alicia Silverstone and her ladies-in-waiting cavort andgiggle in a pool, they're not quite Esther Williams and company. Instead ofpicture-perfect Fred & Ginger, they look like real people dancing andsinging because dancing and singing are fun. And unless you're EbenezerScrooge, The Grinch, or a movie critic, you'll have fun,too.
That's not to say the movie is just sloppy silliness. Branagh stages somegorgeous set pieces, including gondolas lit by Japanese lanterns, aprop-plane goodbye straight out of Casablanca, and a production number inwhich the film's silliest character kicks the moon like a big silver soccerball. It's about a third Shakespeare, a third 30's musical, and a thirdLooney Tunes. What's odd is that the styles mix so well under Branagh'sdirection.
If you want a picture-perfect musical, rent "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" orsome other dull thing. If you want perfect Shakespeare, rent Branagh's"Hamlet." If, however, you want a movie to make you believe in movies again-- if you want to kick up your heels, laugh out loud, and float out of amovie theater humming Cole Porter -- see this movie.
Reviewed byartzauVote: 8/10/10
Interesting reading the reviews herein. The reviewers either loved or hatedit. Some witty shots taken at Branagh's effort to make one of The Bard'sweakest comedies into something enjoyable. I mean, c'mon. The play is astory of young men swearing off of love and being made to eat their vows byclever women through little games and switched clues. Hardly a deep plotwith potentially tragic twists like Much Ado About Nothing, or confusionreigning during a lover in love with love as in Twelfth Night, or a kneeslapper like Midsummer's Night Dream. So, Branagh, ever the innovator andrisk-taker, makes it into a gishy late 30s musical with all the trappings(make that 'tappings') from lead into song and dance routines to coordinatedsmiling shapely swimmers peeling off like a deck of cards into a swimmingpool. Busby Berkeley would have loved it, as would those guys like ColePorter, Irving Berlin and Vincent Youmans who wrote those songs back in the30s. OK, so the ending sucks but how else can you wind up this comedy? It'snot Branagh's fault this play is Much Ado About Nothing; blame it on theBard. He wrote it.
Reviewed byRuby Liang (ruby_fff)Vote: 8/10/10
So it is, right at the first frame next to the title, "a romantic musicalcomedy" is the tagline -- up front with no misconception whatsoever foreveryone to see. The entrance is grand in Patrick Doyle's scoring style,along with the credit treatment on red satin and all. What an invitation!'Like it already. Shakespeare would approve and applaud.
It's truly "there's no business like show business like no business I know."Here Shakespeare and his comedy of errors, a-mixing and a-matching lovesignals at play again. This common "love bug" (literally so) theme is everpresent: in "A Midsummer Night's Dream", in "Much Ado About Nothing", it'sall love wires a-blindly and mistaken assumptions a-crisscrossing. 'Tis allseeds of "Love's Labour's Lost."
The outstanding ensemble cast, the charming pairings of the lovers, the songand dance numbers (including a sizzling "Let's face the music and dance"),the costumes and sets, Branagh's script and the "Cinetone News" segments,his impeccable direction, and Patrick Doyle, a vital collaborator whoprovided the attractive score -- collectively made this romantic musicalcomedy most entertaining.
Branagh's passion in showing off Shakespeare in film media for all to enjoyis beyond evident. It all seem so facile, yet obviously there's plenty oflove in nourishing this dream, lots of labour unrelenting from all involvedin this production, and the lost would be Branagh's total steadfast lost inrealizing this project -- love, labour, 'lost' shiningly shows. He's outdone himself!
If you like musicals, romantic comedies, light-hearted Shakespeare -- go forit. The only special effect here is Branagh's magic.
The King of Navarre and his three companions swear a very public oath to study together and to renounce women for three years. Their honour is immediately put to the test by the arrival of the Princess of France and her three lovely companions. It's love at first sight for all concerned followed by the men's highly entertaining but hopeless efforts to disguise their feelings.