Movies about writers: Shakespeare in Love

Like so many others who went to school and university in English speaking countries, I studied a number of Shakespearean plays and poems as part of my education. I must admit though that the enduring image of Shakespeare in my mind was of a successful playwright who never struggled with life and the demands of the writer’s life like other mere mortals. I guess I had him placed, not so much on a pedestal, but rather on a mountaintop.

The Shakespeare portrayed in the movie Shakespeare in Love shows a writer really struggling with words, struggling to make a living, feeling pressured by critics, his patron and writer’s block. Over the course of the film we see the haphazard writing process employed to get the play finished on time for the production, the distraction of falling desperately in love and the many pressures brought to bear on this creative genius. This portrayal of a struggling author is far removed from the image I have entertained for all these years.

Joseph Fiennes as Will Shakespeare and Gwyneth Paltrow as Viola carry the movie brilliantly.


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