Twelfth Night (1998) - Rotten Tomatoes

Twelfth Night1998

Twelfth Night (1998)



Critic Consensus: Director Trevor Nunn makes some questionable choices, but his stellar cast -- which includes Helena Bonham-Carter, Ben Kingsley, and Nigel Hawthorne -- more than rises to the material.

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Movie Info

This loose adaptation of Shakespeare's enduring but seldom-filmed comedy of merry and ribald romantic mix-ups comes from Trevor Nunn, distinguished director for the Royal Shakespearean Theatre, and features some of Great Britain's finest actors. Nunn has wrought a few major changes to the tale, updating it to the late 19th century and setting it during autumn. The language has also been somewhat simplified. Following a terrible shipwreck, bedraggled Viola washes up on the shores of Illyria, a country at war with her own. Believing that her twin brother Sebastian has drowned, and knowing that as a woman she would not survive on her own, she whacks off her hair, dons a moustache and masquerades as Cesario, a boy. She gets a job working for the dashing Duke Orsino and as his page begins pitching woo to the lovely and recently widowed Lady Olivia. The trouble brews when Olivia finds herself falling in love, not with Orsino, but with Cesario/Viola who herself has fallen in love with Orsino. More trouble follows when Sebastian arrives.

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Richard E. Grant
as Sir Andrew Aguecheek
Mel Smith
as Sir Toby Belch
Tim Bentinck
as Officer
Peter Gunn
as Fabian
Jeff Hall
as Gardener
Alan Mitchell
as Valentine
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Critic Reviews for Twelfth Night

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (11)

A handsome, agreeably performed rendition that fails to ignite much laughter or any real emotion.

July 6, 2008

The direction is assured, and the cast is masterly.

February 9, 2006 | Full Review…

A comic meditation on desire, disguise and inherent bisexuality.

May 20, 2003

An entertaining movie. No more, no less.

April 12, 2002 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Only fitfully do the actors actually seem to become the characters they are playing.

February 14, 2001 | Full Review…

Stage director Trevor Nunn hasn't exploited it in his film of the chaotic Bard farce, which delivers only fitfully on goodwill the play automatically beckons.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2.5/4
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Audience Reviews for Twelfth Night


Twelfth Night is passable. While some of the performances are a bit silly, nothing about the film is terrible. Rather the problem is that the parts are not played with much harmony. However, Helena Bonham Carter's acting, as always, is delectable.

Robert Brogan
Robert Brogan

Super Reviewer

Okay passable Shakespeare like the type that you are usually forced to endure in a high school class but don't remember well beyond the exam on the subject.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Good cast but is just pretty blah and uninteresting.

Sunil Jawahir
Sunil Jawahir

Super Reviewer

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