Stage Beauty

2004

Drama

131
IMDb Rating 7.1 10 9,876

Synopsis


Downloaded times
December 12, 2020

Director

Cast

Alice Eve as Miss Frayne
Billy Crudup as Ned Kynaston
Claire Danes as Sookie
Rupert Everett as King Charles II
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
968.55 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
R
23.976 fps
106 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.94 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
R
23.976 fps
106 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by yoyomagoo 8 / 10 / 10

The bad and the beautiful

Stage Beauty is another adaptation of a play. Yawn? Well don't, because it also happens to make a highly successful transition from stage to screen thanks to the genius that is director Richard Eyre. It tells the tale of Ned (Billy Crudup), a young actor who specialises in portraying women on stage. In a world where only men are allowed to tread the boards, Ned's "Desdemona" (from Shakespeare's Othello) is the closest thing 17th century audiences get to femininity in theatre. However, a young upstart in the form of Maria (played by Clare Danes) wants to change all that. She has a passion for drama and unfortunately the bisexual Ned. With the help of King Charles II (Rupert Everett), she may just get her wish, changing theatre forever, and hopefully pick up Ned on the way. When thinking of the themes of the film, many people dismiss it as a clone of Shakespeare in Love. This is unfair- the film is more thought provoking, substantial and better acted than the aforementioned Oscar snaffler. It explores themes of sexuality and gender with insight and intelligence as well as telling (and, in fact enthralling us with) a love story. As previously referred to, the acting is exceptional, especially the two leads (Danes and Crudup) who shine. The supporting cast is strong too, with Richard Griffiths as a heterosexual prequel to his role in Withnail and I, Tom Wilkinson brimming with quiet intensity as Betterton and Everett hamming it up wonderfully as the King. Even if it does end on a slightly trite note (not to give too much away, but its' "birth of method acting" shtick irritates), Stage Beauty is a funny, heart-warming and occasionally quite cerebral meditation on love and art. What more could any theatre, or film lover for that matter, want? And don't say Shakespeare In Love!

Reviewed by jotix100 8 / 10 / 10

English thespians

This movie has the blessing of the flawless direction of Richard Eyre, who knows a lot about kings and queens. The screen play is adapted by the author of the play, Jeffrey Hatcher. Surprisingly, these two men have been able to create a film that is not only visually satisfying, but it also is an adult entertainment. This movie gives us a glimpse of how theatre functioned in England up to the times of Charles II. The female roles of all plays were portrayed by male actors. The school of acting in that era was an artificial one where actors relied in gestures and affectations that would be laughable today in a serious drama, but that was the way it was the accepted Method then, nothing to do with Stanivslaski, or Strassberg. The leading figure of that theatrical world was Ned Keynaston, who was the most famous Desdemona of his time. There must have been a lot of gay men that were attracted to that world, as was the case with Mr. Keynaston, who might have been bisexual, although that comes as a secondary subplot. This actor is greatly admired by all, including the dressing assistant, Maria. This girl loved to be in the theatre, but could not, because only men were allowed. So instead, she goes to a second rate company that puts on plays in a pub and emerges as Margaret Hughes, an actress in her own right who will challenge Keynaston's Desdemona and makes that role, her signature role as well. Claire Danes, as Maria, or Margaret Hughes, has never been better! She shines as the girl whose ambition is to be on stage. She is wonderful in the part. Ned, played with gusto by Billy Crudup, shows an unexpected range, although he has done theatre extensively. Both of these actors takes us back to London and make us believe that what we are watching. A glorious English cast behind the two American principals are gathered to play effortlessly the theatrical figures of the time, and also the King and his court. Ruper Everett, as King Charles II, is hilarious. The scene in which he plays in drag with his mistress, Nell Gwynn, is one of the best things of the movie. Also, Richard Griffith, as lecherous Sir Charles Sedley, gives a stellar performance. Ben Chaplin, as the Duke of Buckingham, reveals the ambiguity of the men that were attracted to those early thespians. Thoroughly enjoyable because of Richard Eyre's direction and eye for detail.

Reviewed by quixotegrrl 8 / 10 / 10

Not for dogmatists of any stripe...

Those who have something invested in keeping the boundaries of gender and sexuality rigid will be offended by this film, whether they be religious fundamentalist types or gay-rights advocates who argue from the constrictive either/or framing of their opponents. Fundamentalists (and I used to be one!) would, at the same time, find material to support their nurture-not-nature conclusions in Ned Kynaston's background (implicit victimization at the hands of an implicit pedophile), the bigoted comments of the king about effeminate boys, and most of all the actor's eventual orientation "reversal" at the hands of the "right woman." This, of course, would anger those who have chosen to engage them in the loaded "is it a choice?" battle which completely dismisses the B in LGBT. If you are coming from an angle in which no Kinsey scale exists, then the offense makes sense. I think it's a mistaken angle, however. My only complaints about this movie were minor, and involved poor editing, unnecessary dialogue, and a couple of unlikely scenarios (e.g. the carriage ladies' hyperbolic reaction to Ned's petticoat surprise). Otherwise, I loved it - enough to watch it four times on DVD. For me, this story was about identity, authenticity, the malleability of gender and sexuality, and the difference between love and projection. At the bustling outset of the film, Ned (pitch-perfect Billy Crudup, ravishing in any incarnation) is arrogant and narcissistic; his self-regard is balanced perilously upon a constructed self that relies on the applause of others. Alone with Maria, we get a glimmer of something else in him when he pauses contemplatively to quote his mentor - "Never forget that you are a man in woman's form...or was it the other way 'round?" This hint at an awareness (on his or the film's part) of the essential duality of human nature is echoed by Maria - "You would make as fine a man as any woman." When Ned loses his role and his audience to Maria, he loses his very identity; in this way, she "kills" him. The theme of killing and dying is cleverly woven throughout the narrative, both onstage and off. (But more on that presently.) Lost and literally beaten, Ned turns to his former lover, who spurns him with droll indifference. Ned is no longer the shallow Duke's glittering projection but a raw, needy, and very messy human being. Ned's disastrous last-ditch attempt to play Othello for the king in order to save his livelihood is the final humiliation. Maria watches his disintegration onstage, and grasps his utter vulnerability for the first time. It's a credit to Claire Danes' talent that she can speak volumes without uttering a word; in this scene and the inn scene her unexpressed love bleeds from every pore. The almost-sex scene between the two at the inn is one of my favorite love scenes in any film. The gentle role-switching from "man" to "woman" (in alternate parlance, "top" to "bottom" or "dominant" to "submissive") leads to a passionate confusion in which, if you'll notice, Ned tells Maria (astride him) first that she is the "woman" - "And now?" she says, kissing and caressing him - "The woman," he says - "And now?" she says, her passion intensifying - "The man," he murmurs. Do the roles really matter? If only he had shut up about Desdemona! But there is still some "dying" left to do, and not in the Shakespearian sense. Call it evening the score. For alas, Maria is a terrible actress: as affected as Ned was, and twice as false. In rehearsal with someone who evokes her own passion, however, her performance begins to come alive. The harrowing climax of the film has the viewer wondering, along with the theatre audience, if the newfound Othello's murderous passion is real. And it is, which is why Ned is so good at it. In "killing" Maria onstage, he manages at once to work out his Othello-like ambivalence and rage toward a woman he also loves; to "kill" her affected stage persona; and to give birth to himself as an authentic actor in his own male body. It's damn near perfect. "Finally got the death scene right." Ned may not yet know who or even what he is, but he finds expression of his innermost being with a person who loves and accepts him for whomever he may turn out to be. We should all be so lucky.

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