Stage Beauty (2004)
Critic Consensus: Uneven but enjoyable, Stage Beauty uses historical events as the springboard for a well-acted romance with a charming Shakespearean spin.
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as Ned Kynaston
as King Charles II
as Thomas Betterton
as George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham
as Samuel Pepys
as Sir Charles Sedley
as Nell Gwyn
as Sir Peter Lely
as Mistress Revels
as Call Boy
as Stage Manager
as Male Emilia/Dickie
as Miss Frayne
as Lady Meresvale
as Thomas Cockerell
as Lady Jane Bellamy
as 1st Thug
as 2nd Thug
as 3rd Thug
as Mrs. Barry
as Female Emilia
Critic Reviews for Stage Beauty
Stage Beauty... has a lot going for it. Richard Eyre's spritely direction helps hide the holes in the plot, creating a vivid, raucous, underworld London of transvestites, whores and pickpockets, some played by a terrific supporting cast.
It's a marvelous premise, and Crudup's serpentine performance has a venomous grace. But Jeffrey Hatcher's screenplay too often sacrifices psychological insight for bogus theatricality.
The attraction to Stage Beauty is that it is just as much a campy comedy as it is an elegant drama.
It's a juicy, reality-driven plot that you'd think would work like a charm, but Stage Beauty falls flat on more than one occasion.
Audience Reviews for Stage Beauty
Drag actor Ned Kynaston's career is ruined when Charles II reopens the theaters and allows women to appear on stage. The historical inaccuracies of this film are distracting, but the performances by Billy Crudup and Claire Danes make the film worth watching. Crudup captures how Ned Kynaston's gender confusion extends both on stage and in his personal life, and his scenes with Danes are compelling. What holds this film back, more than its inability to capture the spirit of its time the way The Libertine did, is the film's inability to fully explore how sexually and gender interact with societal constraints. The film could be saying that gender and sexuality are socially constructed, but this theme doesn't reach fruition. Overall, I dislike this film mostly because of its wasted potential.
The ultimate gender confusion/sexual identity movie. I found myself liking this a great deal more than the beloved Shakespeare in Love (which I don't understand), it deals with theatre history in a way that isn't corny. Billy Crudup's performance is almost scary, his female withdrawals were extremely believable. I would say that the only bad parts of the movie are the exaggeration of some characters and the fact that there are a ridiculous amount of pointless subplots going on.
One of my favorite Billy Crudup movies (the other-- Almost Famous). He does a fabulous performance where he is sexy, beautiful, sad and the audience truly connects with him on his venture to finding himself. Claire Danes is a perfect counterpart in her role. I don't know whom to recommend this film to, because I think a it is either a love or hate film...I loved it!
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