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Love’s Labour’s Lost

The problem with buying films on DVD (and blu-ray) is that they just sit on the shelf until you finally make yourself watch them… if you want to or not.

So here we are.

I was drunk one night when I bought all the Branagh Shakespeare movies I hadn’t seen. My reasoning was that Henry V was spiffy (it was, wasn’t it? I haven’t seen it since it was released), so surely the other movies would also be good?

But then I remembered that Branagh got Hollywoodified — especially the Shakespeare things — and… my enthusiasm for the project dropped. So I got this in 2015, and I still haven’t watched it.

But the shelf is forever! And this is the oldest unseen movie there, so I gotta do what I gotta do.

I’m encouraged to see that the guy from Scream is playing a role.

(That’s a joke. Not a good one.)

Oh! It’s a musical! Now I’m intrigued!

None of these people can dance!

This is horrible. But it looks like they had fun while vamping?

Was this made for TV?

Huh. Did those $13M go to pay Alicia Silverstone and the guy from Scream?

And that gross seems to indicate that it wasn’t actually given a general cinema release, if it wasn’t made for TV?


Branagh cast the film without much regard for singing or dancing ability; as in Woody Allen’s Everyone Says I Love You, the film was meant to highlight energy and enthusiasm rather than smooth competence.

But one of the delights of a good musical is watching really good dancers move around on the screen… Being a good dancer isn’t “competence”, and enthusiasm is a different axis altogether.

What a shit show.

Right, so a kinda general release in the UK, but the distributors buried it in the US:

Love’s Labour’s Lost was not a box office success. It opened on 2 April 2000 in the United Kingdom, earning £143,649 in its run on 186 screens. It later opened on 11 June 2000 in the United States, playing on two screens and earning $24,496 on its opening weekend.

OK, unpause the movie.

Well, that’s $1M just there. I hope there aren’t any midges on that lake. Those lamps are gonna attract all the insects…

It’s fun watching Silverstone spouting these lines. She really leans into it…

There are scenes here that kinda work, and then there’s stuff like this, which is just inexcusable. It tries so hard to be zany, and fails.

But now I’ve kinda started enjoying this.

It’s like looking at children playing at being in a movie.

This movie isn’t as horrible as it seemed originally. There’s a few scenes here, where they let Shakespeare’s witty patter just play out, and it’s really amusing. (The whole thing is basically Shakespeare on autopilot.) There’s scenes that make me go “THIS IS THE BEST MOVIE EVER”.

But most of the musical numbers are just dire.

So it’s not an abject failure. I think about … one third of this is really entertaining? But the rest… oy vey…

Love’s Labour Lost. Kenneth Branagh. 2000.

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