In a decade in which Shakespearean subjects had become increasingly popular, John Madden's Shakespeare In Love ripped the envelope and then some. Madden's treatment of Marc Norman's and Tom Stoppard's screenplay reminded audiences that Shakespeare's plays were works of flesh and blood, and their playwright a living, breathing human being who faced practical problems and used his best creative impulses, sometimes on the spur of the moment, to solve them. Joseph Fiennes's Shakespeare is a realistically human portrayal, the jumping-off point for one of the more robustly believable movie depictions of Elizabethan life, true to history in large measure, yet not afraid to allow some laughter and incorporate a historical conceit or two in telling its story. The movie won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Gwyneth Paltrow as Best Actress, and Judi Dench in a brief but memorable turn as Queen Elizabeth, revealed to be as quirkily and dimensionally human as Shakespeare himself.
by Bruce Eder review