In Theater 12/25/1998
It is the summer of 1593, and the rising young star of London's theatre scene, Will Shakespeare (Geoffrey Rush), faces a scourge like no other: a paralyzing bout of writer's block. While the great Elizabethan age of entertainment unfolds around him, Will is without inspiration on material. What Will needs is a muse--and in an extraordinary moment in which life imitates art, he finds and falls for a woman who draws him into his own dramatic adventure of star-crossed love. It all begins when Lady Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow), desperate to become an actor at a time when women were forbidden from such depravity, disguises herself as a man to audition for Will's play. But the guise slips away as their passion ignites. Now Will's quill again begins to flow, this time turning love into words, as Viola becomes his real-life Juliet and Romeo finds his reason to exist. Yet all is not well in Will's world. For even as the parchment begins to pile up, he's plagued by the fact that Lady Viola must marry the insufferable Lord Wessex.
Let me Go Song - Shakespeare in Love
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William Shakespeare (Geoffrey Rush):
* Love denied blights the soul we owe to God.
* [last lines] My story starts at sea... a perilous voyage to an unknown land... a shipwreck... the wild waters roar and heave... the brave vessel is dashed all to pieces, and all the helpless souls within her drowned... all save one... a lady... whose soul is greater than the ocean... and her spirit stronger than the sea's embrace... not for her a watery end, but a new life beginning on a stranger shore. It will be a love story... for she will be my heroine for all time. And her name... Viola.
Viola De Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow)
* I would stay asleep my whole life, if I could dream myself into a company of players.
* [to her Nurse] I will have poetry in my life. And adventure. And love. Love above all. No... not the artful postures of love, not playful and poetical games of love for the amusement of an evening, but love that... over-throws life. Unbiddable, ungovernable - like a riot in the heart, and nothing to be done, come ruin or rapture. Love - like there has never been in a play.
Queen Elizabeth (Judi Dench)
* I know something of a woman in a man's profession. Yes, by God, I do know about that.
Philip Henslowe: Mr. Fennyman, allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster.
Hugh Fennyman: So what do we do?
Philip Henslowe: Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well.
Hugh Fennyman: How?
Philip Henslowe: I don't know. It's a mystery.
Lord Wessex: [about Viola] Is she obedient?
Sir Robert de Lesseps: As any mule in Christendom - but if you are the man to ride her, there are rubies in the saddlebag.
Lord Wessex: I like her!
Viola De Lesseps: [after her first experience with sex] I would not have thought it: there IS something better than a play!
William Shakespeare: There is.
Viola De Lesseps: Even your play.
William Shakespeare: Hmm?
Viola De Lesseps: And that was only my first try.
Philip Henslowe: The show must... you know...
William Shakespeare: [prompting him] Go on!
Lord Wessex: How is this to end?
Queen Elizabeth: As stories must when love's denied: with tears and a journey.
* A Comedy About the Greatest Love Story Almost Never Told...
* Love is the only inspiration.