The year is 1593 and young Will Shakespeare - Joseph Fiennes - has writer`s block. The problem is that he`s promised a new play called Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate`s Daughter to the manager of The Rose theatre - Geoffrey Rush. His muse arrives in the form of a wealthy merchant`s daughter Viola - Gwyneth Paltrow - who is desperate to be an actor in an era when women were not allowed to perform on stage. Disguised she lands the role of Romeo in Will`s developing play which not surprisingly starts changing as their romance develops. With a cast dripping with British and American talent in a range of gloriously witty roles including Rupert Everett`s Christopher Marlowe,Tom Wilkinson`s stage-struck money man, Colin Firth`s despicable fianc?, Judy Dench`s Elizabeth I and Ben Affleck`s Ned Alleyn, the show never stops actually...Shakespeare in Love is a perfect example of what an intelligent screenplay can do for a film, playwright Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman who wrote Waterworld have really excelled themselves. And director John Madden of Mrs. Brown fame responds to the exhilaration of cast and script by moving the show along at a zipping pace... altogether a delicious film experience...Mention the contemporary relevance of the jokes - very Shakespearean in fact - the writer is `Nobody` according to Henslowe, Geoffrey Rush`s character Joseph Fiennes hasn`t distinguished himself up till now, but he`s terrific in this. The dovetailing of Shakespeare`s plays, setting the scene for Viola in Twelfth Night. The costumes and production design really add to the whole experience.David`s Comments:An absolute winner. A combination of genuine wit and invention, intriguing plotting, great performances from a flawless ensemble and skilled direction. A rare film which manages to be both sexy and genuinely romantic. Undoubtedly Tom Stoppard was responsible for many of the wonderfully insightful in-jokes. The "modern" references especially those which obviously refer to the film industry - are both clever and funny. Paltrow again shows her Streep-like excellence with accents. Joseph Fiennes is obviously the talent in that family. Geoffrey Rush is a hoot. Tom Wilksonson a delight as "the money" who seizes a chance to act. Colin Firth, wonderfully dry as the impoverished artisocrat who hopes to make a fortune out of tobacco (he would). Big advance for John Madden over the BBC confines of Mrs. Brown.