William Shakespeare’s witty romantic comedy, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, sizzles and snaps from start to finish in Kenneth Branagh’s innovative new film which revolves around two intertwined love stories: one mischievously funny, between Beatrice and Benedick, and, the other, between Claudio and Hero, poignantly sweet. A returning soldier, Claudio falls in love with Hero at first sight, courts her, and they plan to marry. However, Benedick and Beatrice have a “merry war with words” as they spar verbally in a continual battle of wits. On Hero’s and Claudio’s wedding day, Hero is falsely accused of infidelity. She faints, and the wedding is called off. Some watchmen, however, soon uncover an evil plot, and all is resolved. At the movie’s end, a double wedding between the two couples takes place.
Director/Actor Kenneth Branagh is to be commended for a masterful job in adapting MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING for the screen. The acting is competent and convincing, and the cinematography in and around a magnificent 14th-century villa in Italy is breath-taking. Overflowing with humor, Christian metaphor and profound insights into human nature, the movie can be commended for its imaginative concept and is marred only by an opening naturalistic nude bathing scene which will put this superb film off limits to many.
(B, C, L, N, S, V) This humorous morality play about the vicissitudes of human nature is undergird with Christian metaphor and marred only by: some mild, Elizabethan obscenities; naturalistic rear male & female nudity in bathing & dressing scene; implied sexual intercourse (but nothing shown); and, some violence in wedding scene when Claudio believes Hero has been unfaithful.