Forbidden Love

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Shakespeare In Love (1998)

This seven-time Oscar winning romance was Joseph Fiennes’ big screen breakthrough as a leading man, but it is Gwenyth Paltrow who steals the show as the androgynous Viola de Lesseps/Thomas Kent. When William Shakespeare (Fiennes) has a severe case of writer’s block, it is Viola, an upper class woman engaged and doomed to a loveless marriage with Lord Wessex (Collin Firth), who revives him from his slump and inspires his best work. Shakespeare, separated from his wife but still married, falls for Viola and the pair engages in an illicit romantic affair. Viola performs in Shakespeare’s plays, disguised as ‘Thomas Kent’, expertly playing Romeo of Romeo and Juliet to win the approval of Queen Elizabeth I and also £50 for Shakespeare, who had wagered with Wessex that his play could portray the true nature of love. And yet Viola must set sail to Virginia with Wessex. Thus, Shakespeare vows to immortalise her, imagining her as a castaway disguised as a man after a voyage to a strange land – The Twelfth Night…

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