Sunday, June 30, 2013

Review: Love's Labour's Lost (2000)

(This is the eleventh of my reviews for the Period Drama Challenge.)

Oh, Shakespeare... acclaimed playwright and poet of the Elizabethan Era. I've wanted so much to like his works, but I began by reading Romeo and Juliet and that was when I discovered that I'm definitely a "happily-ever-after" kind of girl. I was scared to watch Much Ado About Nothing after that, but when I found that it was actually a comedy, I watched it and greatly enjoyed it. Then we watched Shakespeare in Love (minus the parts Daddy skipped) and I didn't like that as much. Shakespeare faded from my interest again until Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing was announced, and Sarah got very excited. I'm eager to see it, but we haven't yet. So we watched this adaptation of Love's Labour's Lost instead.

The King of Navarre and his three friends swear a very untimely oath to study and deprive themselves of food, sleep and female companionship for 3 years, directly before a visit from the Princess of France, and her three lovely ladies. Rather quickly, all four young men fall desperately in love and hilarity ensues. 

Dumaine (Adrian Lester), Berowne (Kenneth Branagh), Longaville (Matthew Lillard), and The King, Ferdinand (Alessandro Nivola
   I wasn't familiar with all of the cast, but the King (Alessandro Nivola) played Henry Crawford in the 1999 Mansfield Park adaptation; Berowne (Kenneth Branagh) we recognized from Masterpiece's "Wallender" and the aforementioned 1993 Much Ado About Nothing; Rosaline (Natasha McElhone) was in The Truman Show; Holofernia (Geraldine McEwan) we know as "Miss Marple"; and Armado (Timothy Spall) was in The King's Speech as Winston Churchill, and Enchanted as the wicked witch's henchman, Nathaniel. 

The Princess (Alicia Silverstone) and Maria (Carmen Ejogo). Rosaline (Natasha McElhone) and Katherine (Emily Mortimer) behind them.
I didn't include the cover picture, because it looks pretty inappropriate. I was surprised to find that this movie is rated PG. In general, I think it did fit PG, although the tango dancing scene did include some fairly crude moves and inappropriate touching (I recommend skipping that scene), and there were a few other scattered instances of things that I thought should have been left out.

The four couples.
The Shakespearean English was a little hard for me to follow, especially since some of the actors spoke a little too quickly for my southern ears. I barely had time to catch all the words, and I'm not used to "translating" Shakespearean. I caught enough to understand and enjoy what was going on though, and that without having heard anything about the story besides the brief synopsis on Netflix.

This movie is done in the style of a vintage musical, with several 1930's songs, like "I Get a Kick Out of You" and "The Way You Look Tonight." The dance numbers were mostly fun and a little cheesy. I kept forgetting that the movie was actually made in the year 2000! It feels a lot like an old movie. 

Another nice dance number with lovely dresses!
I have no idea how it compares to Shakespeare's original, but I thought this was a fun movie with a classic feel, light-hearted and funny, a little bit silly and totally enjoyable! I'm looking forward to seeing more Shakespeare adaptations in the future.



  1. This is a really fun adaptation of one of my less favorite Shakespeare comedies. I've only seen it once, but my memory matches your description pretty well. I loved the period setting and music!

    Also, the more Shakespeare you watch, the better you'll get at figuring out the language ;-)

    1. I really enjoyed it! So if this is one of your "less favorite" Shakespeare comedies, which would be your favorite?

      Yeah, I figured that I'd learn to understand it more with more listening. Jane Austen took a little getting used to at first, also. ;)

    2. "Much Ado About Nothing" is my favorite, and then I just kind of enjoy all the other comedies when I'm in the mood for them, but not all the time. "Taming of the Shrew" I probably like second best, as it usually makes me laugh. LLL is a little boring on the page (GASP! Hamlette said Shakespeare is boring???), but this brought some great spark and verve to the characters.

  2. Not a Shakespeare fan. That poetic, "thees" and "thous" language is just... not my thing.

    Thanks for the review, Lizzie. :)

    1. I know what you mean about Shakespearean English... I find a little amusing. It seems overly dramatic, so it just makes me want to giggle. ;)