A Midsummer Night's Dream

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
A Midsummer Night's Dream Movie Poster Image
Sumptuous version, both earthy and enchanted.
  • PG-13
  • 1999
  • 116 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 6 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Violence

Very mild.

Sex

Some, including brief nudity.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

Some drinking and intoxication.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there is some earthiness (including an inexplicit scene of Puck relieving himself, some brief nudity, and Hermia's firm resolve not to have sex with Lysander until they are married).

User Reviews

Parent of a 12 year old Written bycrankylibrarian January 3, 2014

Terrrific intro to Shakespeare for tweens

One of the funniest adaptations of one of Shakespeare's funniest plays. Stanley Tucci steals the show, playing Puck as a decidedly earthbound underling, in... Continue reading
Adult Written byCrotonParent May 11, 2013

MIDsummer - MIDddle school not so much...save it for high school

I showed this movie to my 7th graders. While some of them thought it was fairly appropriate, some probably felt it was a bit mature for them. The acting is ok... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bydurf15 May 14, 2012

a little inappropriate

OK, first there is more than one scene of nudity, both male and female, although most of it is hard to see, it also has a few bad words too.
Teen, 15 years old Written byOfficial Critic May 31, 2012

Dull, boring, irritating, one movie you should skip out

Boring, lame and dull. It's so long (since it is so boring), with irritating voices and a stupid plot. There are no funny scenes, no action scenes, NOTHING... Continue reading

What's the story?

Four couples sort out their romantic entanglements in Shakespeare's most magical love story. Hermia (Anna Friel) and Lysdander (Dominic West) love each other, but her father wants her to marry Demetrius (Christian Bale). Demetrius loves Hermia, but is loved by her friend Helena (Calista Flockhart). When Hermia and Lysander run off together, Demetrius chases after them, with Helena chasing him. Meanwhile the Queen of the Fairies, Titania (Michelle Pfeiffer), and her King, Oberon (Rupert Everett), argue over custody of a changeling child. The local Duke Theseus (David Strathairn) prepares for his marriage to Hippolyta (Sophie Marceau), and a group of workmen rehearse a play to perform at the wedding celebration. With the help of the mischievous Puck (Stanley Tucci), Oberon exposes his queen to a potion that causes people to fall in love with whomever they first see after they wake up. The queen falls in love with a man who has a donkey's head. But Lysander and Demetrius are exposed, too, and fall in love with the neglected Helena, forgetting all about Hermia. But by morning, everything is sorted out, and the wedding festivities end with the workmen's remarkable play.

Is it any good?

Filmed several times before, most famously with James Cagney as Bottom and Mickey Rooney as the Puck, this sumptuous version of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM manages to be both earthy and enchanted. The cast includes Hollywood royalty (Michele Pfeiffer as Fairy Queen Titania, theater-trained performers (including Ally McBeal's Calista Flockhart and and Kevin Kline, magnificent as Bottom the would-be actor), international stars Sophie Marceau and Rupert Everett, and "new vaudevillian" and MacArthur genius grant award-winner Bill Irwin. The resulting mix of acting styles clashes at times, as does the mix of music and the switch of setting from ancient Athens to 19th century Tuscany, arias and all. Ultimately, though, it is charming, an accessible introduction to the works of that guy in the movie with Gwyneth Paltrow.

Kids will enjoy the movie more if they have some basic introduction to the plot.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about may want to talk about an era in which a father could order his child to marry the person he chose, about "the course of true love," and how people work out the problems in relationships. Older kids may like to talk about the metaphor of an enchanted forest as a place to find self-knowledge and to resolve issues.

Movie details

For kids who love romance

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate