Oh what a lovely movie.
The 2006 Kenneth Branagh version of As You Like It
starts with a ninja attack and ends with a wedding. It has all sorts of delights in between - I was laughing out loud at some of the jokes, and though among all Shakespeare's plays it's one I am largely unfamiliar with, it's amazing how familiar so many lines are. I quite loved Bryce Dallas Howard (Ron Howard's daughter) as Rosalind,and though I'm not sure she gave the role the strength and power it deserves, she certainly gave it charm.
Brian Blessed played both the Good Duke (in white) and the Bad Duke (in black) and each role was so different there was no shred of possibility of confusion. Well done.
Well done also to cast the three brothers Orlando, Oliver and Jacques de Royce with black actors. It made it instantly clear - among a crowd of characters - which were the brothers.
My friend maaseru
and I were both smitten by Alex Wyndham
as Silvius. Gorgeous. maaseru
kept pointing out that he was "born in 1981. 1981!" Yeah, well, say I, age doesn't matter. But, yeah, 1981.
Kevin Kline was witty and sad as Jacques, suitably enough, and I even recognized him this time, though not in his first scene - I always have trouble recognizing Kevin Kline. Alfred Molino was oddly unappealing as Touchstone. Maybe it was the bad hair.
Not only do I want to see it again, I'm looking forward to seeing it again.
Part of the time I watched with the script in my lap, seeing who the characters were, and what dialogue Branagh cut. It taught me something about Shakespeare's pacing: he wrote in reverse pyramid style - almost all Branagh's cuts were the beginning of scenes, or the beginnings of passages. Shakespeare left the meaty bits for the end.
Why isn't this play performed more? It's totally the epitome of Shakespeare's style. It's classic
. I asked maaseru
this question - "Is it unusually difficult to perform?" - and she said, "It's just out of fashion."
And if you laid all those familiar lines end to end, well, you'd have just about the whole play. Can one desire too much of a good thing?