The setting of this film is between 1660 and 1662 but could be 1666. In the theaters of London, women were not allowed to perform on the stage. Men act all the theater roles for women and Ned Kynaston has been playing female roles for years. Aspiring actress Maria is the dresser for Ned and she wants to play the role of Desdemona. Ned has played this role for years by. Maria borrows his costumes and plays Desdemona in a secret theater. King Charles II decides put it into law that all female roles will be played only by women. Maria becomes a star and Ned finds himself out of a job. He’s very bitter but he decides to forgive Maria and it’s possible King Charles could change the rule so that women can be played by either gender?
Even though Ned has played a woman on stage for years, he plays women like men would play women? In the beginning, Maria doesn’t change the acting style she has copied from Ned even though she is a woman. After she relaxes on stage, she plays the role as a woman would. Maria has feelings for Ned and she rescues him after his downfall. I thought the plot, the characters and the acting were good. 4* (I really liked this movie)
106 min, Drama directed by Richard Eyre with Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Rupert Everett, Derek Hutchinson, Mark Letheren, Tom Wilkinson, Ben Chaplin, Hugh Bonneville, Jack Kempton, Alice Eve, Fenella Woolgar.
Note: Imdb 7.2 out of 10, 64% critic 78% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*, Amazon 4.5* out of 5* with 189 reviews.
Special Note: Filmed in Surrey, Hertfordshire, London, England, UK. This film is based on the stage play Compleat Female Stage Beauty. Ned used it as an advertising poster slogan for his female impersonations. Kate Winslet was originally offered the role of Maria. Crudup and Danes became a couple after filming. Alice Eve made her debut in this film. In the film Shakespeare in Love, Gweneth Paltrow is confident as a woman so she plays her roles in that manner from the beginning.