Parents' Guide to

Much Ado About Nothing

By Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Very accessible, jubilant Shakespeare with brief bawdiness.

Movie PG-13 1993 111 minutes
Much Ado About Nothing Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 1 parent review

age 11+

One of the best Shakespeare movies ever

Yes, it's Shakespeare, but it's chock full of slapstick humor, practical jokes, and gorgeous lovestruck young people. Kenneth Branagh in a rare comic role is priceless as Benedict, with a smouldering Emma Thompson as his Beatrice. I think of this as the "nice" version of Taming of the Shrew; the same battle of the sexes banter, except both parties end up giving a little and neither is totally humiliated or subjugated. Hero and Claudio may be the Dullest Lovers in Shakespeare, but who could resist the reluctantly lovesick Benedict: "I do love nothing in the world so well as you. Is that not strange?" Yes, wondrously strange. And wonderful that this is a story of two former lovers who broke each other's hearts, and must conquer their mutual distrust before the happy ending. A mature Romeo and Juliet, no longer starry eyed, but old enough to know what they're doing and yet still fall rapturously in love.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (4 ):

The best way to handle one of Shakespeare's fluffiest comedies is to keep it as fun and fanciful as intended, and that's exactly what this movie does. The villain is never to be taken seriously here -- so why not cast Keanu Reeves? He's a man of few words anyway. Even better: Michael Keaton as the greasy-haired fool; he's hilarious. Toss in a giddy bathing scene opener, declarations of love dancing in fountains, masked parties full of tipsy revelers, and you forget you were working hard to understand centuries-old prose.

The "Much Ado" portion, however, gets a little tedious. The hysterics over Hero's botched wedding and faked death are overdone and overlong. Rather than rolling eyes while waiting for the happy resolution, why not focus on the Tuscan countryside setting? It's breathtaking.

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