My husband and I sat down to watch A Midsummer Night’s Dream this past Friday, not a movie he would usually choose to watch, but he knows I’ve been enjoying Shakespeare month so he went along with it.

The plot stays true to the play, which I talked about yesterday. Our story begins as Hermia and Lysander flee deep into the forest to escape Hermia’s father who insists she marry Demetrius. Soon, Demetrius wanders into the forest himself in search of his true love Hermia. Following close on Demetrius’ heels is Helena, who is hopelessly in love with the man. Things only get worse, of course, when the squabbling King and Queen of Fairies arrive on the scene, and King Oberon sends his fairy trickster Puck to liberally dose just about everyone with a magical love potion. Numerous romantic mix-ups ensue and then amateur actors show up adding to the mix, one is even given a donkey head by Puck and becomes Titania’s lover.

The setting has been moved from 16th century Greece to Tuscany in the late 1800s, allowing the the chases through the woods to be on bicycle, rather than on foot. It also provides a rather amusing moment when Puck pokes at the bike, apparently unsure of what it is.

The movie follows the play’s script, with minor snips, but the phrasing led to a little difficulty for David. There were several times when he asked me what was going on. And I have to admit that maybe late on Friday curled up under a blanket was not the best way for me to watch it; I dozed off a couple of times. In my defense, I did already know the plot.

I loved Michelle Pfeiffer as Titania. She’s gorgeous and sexy. Kevin Kline as Bottom and Stanley Tucci as Puck also pull off the parts perfectly, adding to the fun.

The woods never feels real, which adds to the dreamy quality, and the fairies are covered in glitter and sparkles. It’s a little campy I guess, but in a good way. Really, with gods, lovers, bad actors, mud-wrestling, big stars and a little nudity, how could the movie go wrong? And I did like that Bottom’s donkey head was merely a pair of ears and some extra fur, it was cute not creepy.

4 out of 5 stars

Amazon | IMDb

Released 1999
Rated PG-13
116 minutes

DVD source: Library