There are so many movies out there that we might never heard of and yet they are splendid to watch. As such, this is one of them.
A story really has no boundary of time, it is as relevant as today as it had been during the time of Shakespearean’s theatre. The cross-dressing and the gender bias are nothing but superfluous. The old tale says no one will ever be the favourite forever. Stars will dim, or the new will push out the old…such will be an actor’s life. Unfortunately, with our current attention deficit collective alchemy, it is just getting worse.
The story takes place in the 17th century with the reign of King Charles II (Rupert Everett). Othello is staged at Thomas Betterton‘s (Tom Wilkinson) theatre visited by the King. Thomas plays the role of Othello, and Ned Kynaston (Billy Crudup) plays the female role of Desdemona, with Maria Hughes (Claire Danes) as his stage hand. Applause and ovation go out to Mr. Kynatson at the end of an act, and he loves those because that is his life, or everything he knows and was trained for. That is until Maria steals his thunder, and secretly put on her own act of Desdemona at a local tavern.
George Villiers II – Duke of Buckingham (Ben Chaplin) informs Mr. Kynaston discreetly of a woman taking his role and performs in the public, while they are on stage at night playing their other roles: bed buddies?
At the King’s Palace, the secret is revealed, but Maria is safe as the King allows her, and her only to act. Nell Gwynn (Zoe Tapper) eventually gets that law changed in the King’s bed under him, literally.
Losing his identity and the world of acting, Mr. Kynaston’s life can only sparrow down, and be in survival mode. Well, the good out of the bad is perhaps he accidentally gives birth to the prequel of all drag shows.
The rest is quite expected of the relationship between Mr. Kynaston and Mrs. Hughes. The question we beg to ask, universally perhaps, is when does an actor stops acting? and how do we know? or even deeper, do they know?
The final scene was quite captivating, which helps to wrap things up making it a quite enjoyable movie. Now, do I agree with the outcomes as portrayed, probably not, but that’s the beauty of being engrossed in a well acted film, specifically for Claire Danes and Billy Crudup (who would know he is the blue naked Mr. Manhatten in Watchmen (2009)).