Shakespeare's intertwined love polygons begin to get complicated from the start--Demetrius and Lysander both want Hermia but she only has eyes for Lysander. Bad news is, Hermia's father wants Demetrius for a son-in-law. On the outside is Helena, whose unreturned love burns hot for Demetrius. Hermia and Lysander plan to flee from the city under cover of darkness but are pursued by an enraged Demetrius (who is himself pursued by an enraptured Helena). In the forest, unbeknownst to the mortals, Oberon and Titania (King and Queen of the faeries) are having a spat over a servant boy. The plot twists up when Oberon's head mischief-maker, Puck, runs loose with a flower which causes people to fall in love with the first thing they see upon waking. Throw in a group of labourers preparing a play for the Duke's wedding (one of whom is given a donkey's head and Titania for a lover by Puck) and the complications become fantastically funny.Written by
Calista Flockhart initially wasn't interested in appearing in what she called an "insipid, ridiculous, frivolous comedy" but ultimately changed her mind. The film's schedule had to be rearranged to fall within the hiatus of her hit show, Ally McBeal (1997). See more »
The opening text tells us that the movie is set at "the turn of the 19th century," which would be around 1800. It meant to say "the turn of the 20th century," as the movie is clearly set around 1900. See more »
If we shadows have offended, / Think but this, and all is mended, / That you have but slumber'd here / While these visions did appear. / And this weak and idle theme, / No more yielding but a dream, / Gentles, do not reprehend: / If you pardon we will mend. / Else the Puck a liar call. / Give me your hands, if we be friends, / And Robin shall restore amends.
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Though some critics have dumped on this film, I was charmed by it. The movie literally sparkles. The settings are full of rich colors and magical lighting. The romantic classical music is all well chosen to help induce the hypnotic or dreamlike qualities. And the cast is an utter delight.
This is a fluffy cloud of fairy dust -- just as Shakespeare intended.
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