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 13+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 8 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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


Very mild.


Some, including brief nudity.

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

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11-year-old Written byAmitra71 June 10, 2018

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 befor... Continue reading
Parent 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
Teen, 13 years old Written byLilyLovesMovies April 3, 2018

Good movie, but quite mature.

It was pretty good. I watched recently at school for an English project (after having read the book), and I would recommend the original book than the movie. It... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byfoxythinks September 9, 2020

no way. dont show this to kids

I got through the first five minutes, and then i started freaking out. it got really confusing, and i felt insecure. DO NOT SHOW THIS TO KIDS.

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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romance

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