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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999)

In turn of the century Italy, a pair of young lovers (Dominic West, Anna Friels) flee into the forest to escape an arranged marriage forced upon her. They are followed into the forest by the girl (Calista Flockhart) who loves him and the betrothed (Christian Bale) of the fleeing girl. Meanwhile, the King of the Faeries (Rupert Everett) who resides in the forest is having domestic problems with his Queen (Michelle Pfeiffer). William Shakespeare's romantic comedy needs a lot of magic and whimsy to work and for the most part, the director Michael Hoffman (SOAPDISH) provides it. The production design by Luciana Arrighi is appropriately lush and sumptuous and the actors seem in the spirit of things. The one part where it falters is during the enactment of the Pyramus and Thisbe playlet. Hoffman and the actors (especially Kevin Kline) push too hard as if afraid they won't get the appropriate laughs and the charm of the piece is lost. With Stanley Tucci, Sam Rockwell, Sophie Marceau, David Strathairn, Roger Rees and Bill Irwin.

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