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Dreamy Shakespeare


A Midsummer Night's Dream will transport you to an enchanted world of fairies in elfin glades, love and romance in rural Tuscany. 

Hermia loves Demetrius against her father's wishes. By way of punishment, the Duke of their small town gives Hermia a choice between death or the convent. Hermia, a most sensible girl, will have none of this and elopes with Demetrius. Helena, Hermia's friend, who loves Lysander who loves Hermia, tells Lysander to spite Hermia. Lysander runs after Hermia; Helena chases after Lysander. Their journey leads them to an enchanted glade where the fairy Puck's magical spell resolves all. 

Meanwhile in the Kingdom of Fairy, the bicycle path of true love never ran over so many potholes. Oberon (Rupert Everett), the fairy king, plays a trick on his queen Titania (Michelle Pfeiffer), making her fall in love with the donkey-faced Bottom, played very amusingly by Kelvin Kline. 

The story transfers well to its lavish Edwardian setting in idyllic Tuscany, shown to perfection by the spectacular photography. Magical special effects match the enchantment of the otherworldly theme. 

Excellent acting and the beauty of Shakespeare's language combine to make this film a bewitching experience. All the young lovers play their roles well, especially Calista Flockhart, who shines as the neurotic Helena, a character not far removed from self-concerned Ally McBeal. Michelle Pfeiffer's radiant beauty suits the part of the fairy queen. Stanley Tucci plays an amusing Puck, and Kelvin Kline, the film's real star, brings an special wistfulness and yearning to the part of Bottom. 

Verdi's soaring and joyful music provides the perfect soundtrack for this exquisite film. As one viewer remarked: "It was worth seeing for the music alone." 

A Midsummer Night's Dream's only fault is its length. At about two and a half hours, it drags towards the end. Sophie Marceau' s French accent makes her a little hard to understand -- another of the film's minor problems -- but she looks suitably aristocratic and lovely as Hippolyta, the Duke's wife. 

This enchanting film is a "must see," a magical version of this play -- even if the play isn't considered one of Shakespeare's best. 

Lisa Sanderson


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