Synopsis by Mark Deming
With William Shakespeare now a hot commodity at the box office (and his body of work conveniently out of copyright), the usual trickle of film adaptations of the Bard's work is becoming a small flood, and director Michael Hoffman has assembled a cast of leading stage and screen actors for this whimsical film version of one of Shakespeare's most popular comedies. This interpretation of A Midsummer Night's Dream moves the action to Tuscany near the turn of the 20th century, as both mortals and enchanted creatures deal with romantic problems. Among the flesh-and-blood crowd, Duke Theseus (played by David Strathairn) is preparing for his wedding to Hippolyta (Sophie Marceau), while having to counsel Egeus (Bernard Hill), who has promised the hand of his daughter Hermia (Anna Friel) to Demetrius (Christian Bale). Hermia, however, wants to elope with her true love, Lysander (Dominic West), while her best friend Helena (Calista Flockhart) is mad about Demetrius. Meanwhile, fairies living in the forest are watching these romantic misadventures. Puck (Stanley Tucci) serves up love potions that mix and match the already confused lovers, while the Queen of Fairies, Titania (Michelle Pfeiffer), and her King, Oberon (Rupert Everett), have to deal with a group of hapless actors rehearsing a play in the forest -- one of whom, Bottom (Kevin Kline), has fallen under Puck's spell and becomes Titania's new lover. Will anyone end up with the person they really love? Who will get hurt riding their bicycles in the woods? Will Helena sit down and eat a square meal? Director Hoffman, a longtime Shakespeare buff, appeared as Lysander in a production of the play while a college student, and has since spearheaded a campaign to build a new $3 million theatre for his alma mater in Boise, ID.
enchanted-forest, engagement, fairy, friendship, love-potion, lover, play [recreation], unrequited