Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Stage Beauty


This entertaining, thoughtful, well-acted, well-written, good looking movie suffers from one unfortunate thing: It deals with the same theme as one of my favorite movies of all time, Shakespeare in Love. The older movie was set in Elizabethan England and this one is later, during the Restoration. In both instances women were not allowed on stage. Men played the parts. In Stage Beauty we focus on one man who had made a specialty of female roles, as many men did, especially Desdemona from Othello, and he’s a big star. Then King Charles decrees that only women can play female parts, and the guy is out of a job. It goes along well, exploring various aspects of sexuality, but I had a hard time believing the ending. Lee mentioned that these two people virtually invented The Method, right there on stage one night, and of course that is unlikely. Actors were meant to gesture and intone in those days. I don’t think the audience would have appreciated a time-traveling ghost of Marlon Brando or Al Pacino appearing in Act Five. But it was still an enjoyable film.