Stage Beauty (2004)

Set in 17th Century London, we enter the world of playhouses where for decades law demanded that female roles were played by men so as to avoid the scandal of women actors. That is until now when a lenient king and a daring actress merge in history.

I thought this subject to be one of antiquity - females in theatre and film are not an issue today. Then I watched the film and was intrigued at how the initial plot of women storming the stage was turned around to focus on the man, played superbly by Billy Crudup, who was disenfranchised. Crudup's character, the premier stage actor of the time to portray women, was already emasculated by his acting mentor. Now he has no identity when the opportunity to practice what he knows best is taken away.

I can't say that I fully enjoyed Claire Danes' acting. She seems to emote the same in all her roles. Now that I've seen her in a variety of films, I see her and not her character. The supporting cast was thoroughly enjoyable as they portrayed unassuming and playful characters. I do look forward to seeing Notes on a Scandal by the same director, Richard Eyre.


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