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Parents' Guide to

A Midsummer Night's Dream

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Sumptuous version, both earthy and enchanted.

Movie PG-13 1999 116 minutes
A Midsummer Night's Dream Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 15+

Talk about consent

While this is a visually appealing version of the classic, and makes Shakespeare easy to understand, I had a problem with the rape. I had never noticed it before - maybe I did this time because I've been very carefully teaching my son about consent. The queen and Puck very clearly have sex in one scene (it is not actually *shown*, but it is pretty obvious). The queen had been given a drug, so she couldn't give consent. Bottom, of course, doesn't know this, so he's a victim as well. Puck knows, and finds it amusing. The king knows. This is all hammered home in the final scene, when the queen clearly has no memory of what happened. This is rape, played for laughs, and because it's a "magic" drug, most people don't seem to think about the parallel here to a girl getting slipped a date rape drug. I had a long talk with my son after watching this, and I hope you talk to your child as well.
age 10+

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 awe of, yet exasperated by his suave demanding boss Oberon. The lovers (Including Dominic West from "The Wire" and "Batman" Christian Bale) pull off some wonderful slapstick, yet Kevin Kline (Bottom) and the other mechanicals are unexpectedly touching.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (8 ):

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.

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