A slightly streamlined but mostly charming adaptation of Shakespeare's romantic comedy, transplanted to a sunny Tuscan villa, featuring an all-star cast. Reinterpreted by writer-director-star Kenneth Branagh, the story is wonderfully updated to include color-blind casting (Denzel Washington and Keanu Reeves play brothers) and real-life pairings (Branagh and co-star Emma Thompson were married at the time) that actually work in service of the film instead of drawing attention away from it. Comprised of the director's earmark attention to detail and flights of fancy, the film found a significant audience and paved the way for more screen adaptations of Shakespeare's comedies by other filmmakers. This effort continued Branagh's fascination with the Bard on celluloid, after his extraordinary filmization of Henry V in 1989, and proved that he could switch gears from heavy drama to light comedy with the surest of hands.
by Jason Clark review