Much Ado About Nothing

Overview
Don Pedro, the Prince of Aragon, returns victorious from battle to the praises of the Governor of Messina, Leonato. One of Don Pedro’s bravest men, Claudio, falls in love with Hero, Leonato’s daughter, and htey plan to marry. However, Don Pedro’s devious half-brother Don John opposes the match, and he devises a plan to turn Hero against Claudio. Meanwhile, Benedict, Don Pedro’s second-in-command, detests Leonato’s niece Beatrice, but Don Pedro cleverly brings them together by making each think the other is secretly in love with them.

Plot Rating: 6/5
This will always be my favorite movie. The description is a bit difficult to follow, but the actual movie is much easier to get. Simply put two storylines are mixing here. One story is about Count Claudio’s love for young Hero, a beautiful and modest girl. The other story is about Benedict and Beatrice’s “merry war”, as it is described. The two share nothing but insults for one another, yet are tricked into falling in love when the Prince makes each think the other confessed their love secretly to their friends.

The Prince (Denzel Washington, Center) and his men enter the Villa for the first time to greet their hosts.

In the middle of all of this is Don John, the bastard half-brother of the prince, who wants nothing more than to see Claudio and Hero suffer.

This movie is easy to watch and doesn’t require a whole lot of concentration (if you’ve got an ear for Shakespeare, that is, it is a movie version of one of his plays). It is very funny and fast-paced. Some scenes seem to be out of order, which confuses the timeline, mainly near the end of the movie, but no significant damage is done.

Acting Score: 5/5
When I pitched this movie to my roommate and a friend of ours for our weekly movie night all I had to do was list the cast names and they were on board without even knowing the plot. It is truly an impressive cast.

Robert Sean Leonard and Kate Beckinsale (in her debute role) play Count Claudio and Hero, respectively. They deliver a phenomenal performance only hindered slightly by Leonard’s awkward fake tears. His reactions are a bit overdone, but otherwise he plays the part extremely well.

Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson as Benedict and Beatrice.

Opposite them are Kennith Branagh (who also directed) and Emma Thompson, another phenomenal duo who plays Benedict and Beatrice. They, naturally, are perfect in their performances as the witty duo who each swear they will never marry only to fall hopelessly in love.

Also in the film are Denzel Washington (the Prince) and Keanu Reeves (the Prince’s half-brother Don John), Richard Briers (Hero’s father Leonato) and Michael Keaton as a rather odd constible.

Age Rating: 13+
There is very slight sexual content and brief nudity in the beginning, but those two things are not in the same scene. The sexual content is pretty clean- no nudity or anything but there’s some shouting of names. The nudity in the very beginning (during the title slide) is a lot of naked men and women from behind (each is in a separate bathing space). So any concerns there should be taken into consideration. As for the rest of the movie the only reason I’d set the age range higher is that it is a Shakespeare play adapted for screen, that means the dialogue as well. It can be hard for younger kids to follow, so check first to see if they can figure out what is being said. Even if they can’t they will probably enjoy the film.

Kate Beckensale as Hero

Fun Trivia
This was Kate Beckensale’s acting debut.

Much of the singing was never re-recorded, meaning as you hear it is how it was actually performed for the shot.

When filming this movie Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson were married. In the earlier adaptation of “Much Ado About Nothing” the two actors playing Beatrice and Benedict were also married. Both couples later divorced.

Three people in this movie went on to play professors in the “Harry Potter” movies. Kenneth Branagh was Professor Lockhart (Chamber of Secrets), Emma Thompson was Professor Trelawney (Prizoner of Azkaban), and Imelda Staunton (who has a minor role as one of Hero’s cousins) played Professor Umbridge in “Order of the Phoenix”.

Kate Beckensale shot this movie over her college summer vacation.

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2 Comments

  1. Hello, thanks for revealing your opinions in Much Ado About Nothing Reviews by Kristen. This is actually an awesome blog.

    • bob

      yeah watched the filmed didnt understand it

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