Movie Review: As You Like It (2006)

Synopsis: Rosalind, the daughter of a deposed duke, lives with her uncle and his daughter, Celia. She falls in love with a young man named Orlando but, before she can act on it, is exiled by her uncle and goes into the forest of Arden with Celia choosing to join her. When she crosses paths with Orlando, who is hiding in the forest from his brother, and learns he loves her, Rosalind disguises herself as a man and tries to find out his real intentions.

Who's in it? The movie stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Romola Garai, Adrian Lester, Brian Blessed and Alfred Molina.

Review: My youngest daughter has a couple roles in the community theater version of this Shakespeare play next week and, because of that, my wife got this movie from our local library as a bit of a sneak preview. We watched it last night and my opinion was a bit mixed.

Overall, I thought the plot was entertaining. There are a lot of fun characters, and those characters do get into some funny situations. Even though it was sometimes hard to understand what they were saying (thanks to the movie staying true to the language Shakespeare used), it wasn't too difficult to figure out what was happening and when we were supposed to laugh.

The movie did seem to drag on a bit toward the end, which may also be the case with the play itself (I've never actually seen it performed on stage), something my wife and I both complained about. 

We also both thought it was a bit unbelievable nobody could figure out Rosalind (Dallas Howard) was a woman, especially those who had met her before. This made some of the scenes involving her pretending to be a guy pretending to be a woman for Orlando's (Lester) sake, a bit hard to follow because we just couldn't believe he was that dumb. Maybe that was supposed to be part of the joke, but it still might have been more believable had there been a bit more of an attempt to make her seem more manly.

I also found myself questioning the decision to have this taking place in 19th-century Japan, mostly because it had so little to do with the plot, other than having the non-Japanese main characters dress and do their hair the same way the Japanese women did and, of course, a sumo match. Maybe if the movie had Asian actors and did a bit more to include the Japanese culture/history into the plot, it would have made a difference. As it stood, it almost seemed like it might be a bit offensive.

Final Opinion: It's an OK portrayal of Shakespeare's play, though I suspect we will likely enjoy the stage performance more.

My Grade: B


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