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MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

SYNOPSIS:
Hermia (Anna Friel) and Lysander (Dominic West) run away into the forest to escape Hermia’s father Egeus (Bernard Hill) who demands that Hermia marries Demetrius (Christian Bale). Demetrius pursues Hermia, followed by Helena (Calista Flockhart), who adores Demetrius. The foursome find themselves near the secret home of the fairies, where fairy trickster Puck (Stanley Tucci) administers a secret love potion, causing the lovers to mix and match with outrageous results. Meanwhile a band of actors rehearsing a play in the woods are interrupted when its star actor Bottom (Kevin Kline) becomes a pawn in the love battles between Oberon (Rupert Everett), King of the Fairies, and Titania (Michelle Pfeiffer), his Queen.

"Visually stunning, Midsummer Night's Dream magically weaves Shakespeare's words into an entertaining and imaginative world that is accessible to all. Set in the exquisite ancient settings of Tuscany, where the cobbled pavements and splendid architecture display their own magic, the richness of the settings is enhanced by the emotional power of a magnificent music score, liberally dosed with Mendelssohn, Puccini and Verdi. Michael Hoffman has created real and tangible characters with care and craft, bringing the splendour of this best known Shakespeare comedy to the screen. Rupert Everett and Kevin Kline are stand outs, while Stanley Tucci's impish Puck delights and Michelle Pfeiffer has never looked more beautiful. There's atmosphere a plenty, as the tales of tangled relationships are skillfully integrated. But best of all, despite the sophistication of the production, visual effects and splendid settings, the simplicity of Shakespeare's famous play are well showcased and do not disappoint; watch out for a scene stealing Sam Rockwell, as Thisbe in the play within the play. Following the success of Shakespeare in Love, Midsummer Night's Dream will appeal to a broad cross section of movie-goers - from lovers of cinema, to those who could be drawn by such casting as television actress, Calista Flockhart. From the natural beauty of a poppy field in bloom, to the ethereal wonders of an enchanted fairyland, Midsummer Night's Dream sprinkles its magic delectably and with great charm. Feast your senses on this comedy of errors, when all's well that ends well."
Louise Keller

"It's the turn of the century and bicycles are the new thing. But they still speak as they did in the 16th century, when William Shakespeare (possibly on opiates at the time) whipped off this unpretentious piece of romantic fantasy and fluffery. Except for their accents, which come variously from middle America, thespian England, suburban London and cosmopolitan France. The big question is: does it all work for you. After all, the fairy kingdom is gorgeous (as is all of this film, thanks to Arraghi's design), the actors are from Heavenly Casting, Simon Boswell's music mixes beautifully with Puccini and Verdi - and the text is from the most revered English writer of all time. For me, the film is dangerously close to taking itself a trifle too seriously, but it has undeniable charms. It also boasts a terrific performance from the amazing Rupert Everett as Oberon; Pfeiffer (as Titania) and Tucci (as Puck) also stand out, but Sophie Marceau seems ill at ease and out of place as Hippolyta, bride of Duke Theseus (Strathairn). Best to go in a reveling mood."
Andrew L. Urban

"As the fairies weave their spell over mortals and fairy queens alike, so this stunning film weaves an equally intoxicating magic over a spellbound audience. The Bard is back, in all his untainted romanticised glory, and director Michael Hoffman creates a wondrous world of magic, colour, light, movement, romance and comedy. If Shakespeare were alive today, he'd be the master of romantic cinema, and here he shines anew, this time in 19th century Tuscany, which looks magnificent, awash in a sea of dazzling colour. Hoffman's interpretation is a sensuous, funny and dazzling affair, one with a collage of exquisite sequences that fit seamlessly together. It's hard to imagine that this is a 400-year old play, yet its timeless intricate themes of love and mischief seem eternal. Hoffman has cast his film with a diverse array of players that bring depth to their characters. Calista Flockhart was a stage actress of some note before donning miniskirts and skinniness as TV's hapless Ally McBeal. Here, as the somewhat obsessive Hermia, she's a comic delight, uttering her Shakespearian prose beautifully. Michelle Pfeiffer is alluring as the ass-loving Titania; Rupert Everett is his usual sublime self as Oberon, while Stanley Tucci is as unforgettable Puck. Stealing the Dream for all it's worth is the oft-indefatigable Kevin Kline, as Bottom, that ham of hams, whose final moments on screen are pure comic genius. Visually, Midsummer Night's Dream is truly magnificent. Apart from those beautiful sequences in Tuscany, the fairy forest scenes shot in Rome's Cinecitta Studios are masterfully crafted. Backed by some wonderful music, A Midsummer Night's Dream is not only a visual feast, but a joyous entertainment that even non-Shakespeare fans will find totally irresistible."
Paul Fischer

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

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See our Behind the Scenes FEATURE

TRAILER

SOFCOM MOVIE TIMES

MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM (PG)
(US)

CAST: Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Everett, Stanley Tucci, Calista Flockheart, Anna Friel, Christian Bale, Dominic West, David Strathairn, Sophie Marceau, Sam Rockwell, Roger Rees, John Sessions, Bernard Hill

DIRECTOR: Michael Hoffman

PRODUCERS: Leslie Urdang, Michael Hoffman

SCRIPT: Michael Hoffman (from William Shakespeare’s play)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Oliver Stapleton

EDITOR: Garth Craven

MUSIC: Simon Boswell

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Luciana Arrighi

RUNNING TIME: 121 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Searchlight

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE DATE: May 20, 1999

VIDEO RELEASE: November 17, 1999 (Rental)
April 19, 2000 (Sell-Thru)
RRP $19.95

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Home Entertainment







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