LAST MARCH, the epic Titanic crushed its competition at the Academy Awards. This year, the biggest winner was Shakespeare in Love, a modest- budget romantic comedy set in Elizabethan England. Stripped to their essence, both films relied on a story as tried and true as Romeo and Juliet: an ultimately teary-eyed tale of star-crossed paramours. Even though neither story ends happily, their love seems undying. In the hearts of viewers, good old-fashioned romance conquers all. Titanic may have been a much bigger hit at the box office, but Shakespeare in Love shows that a splendid script is the most special effect of all.
IN A field that included two movies set in World War II, Benigni's tragi- comedy, and two movies set in the Elizabethan era, a movie about Shakespeare walked away with best picture. If the Bard had been on hand, he might have wondered how a movie heavily laced with his own words didn't also earn him a best writing award.
Corpus Christi Caller Times
SUCH AWARDS are meaningless in the large scale of events that shape our world.
One would be hard-pressed to name three of the last five "best picture" winners. Yet the slight of Saving Private Ryan was disappointing.
The Oscars proved true the words of Edward Bulwer Lytton, a British author and contemporary of Charles Dickens: "The pen is mightier than the sword." Or at least the pen of a make-believe Shakespeare is mightier than the make-believe artillery, but true heroism, of Private Ryan.
The Freelance Star
THE SURPRISE was that Shakespeare in Love, a romantic comedy, won as best picture over the expected winner, Saving Private Ryan, a thunderously powerful movie. The show reminds us that movies constitute one of the most extraordinary cultural forces in this soon-ending century. Movies reflect us, affect us, endlessly captivate us. Movies can generate exuberance and other deep feelings because some of them do reach deep within us.
Naples Daily News
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