(In theaters, December 1998) Unarguably one of the best movies of 1998. Why? Pure Magic. Who would have thought to be enchanted by a hilarious film taking place in Elizabethan times, starring William (“Will”) Shakespeare as the romantic hero? Doesn’t sound promising, but the result is magnificent. Great acting by Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow as the leading couple, plus Judi Dench as the second Elizabeth worthy of an Oscar nomination this year. (Shakespeare In Love does makes a perfect companion to the rather humourless Elizabeth) The film played exceedingly well to a demographically heterogenous audience, drawing laughs from both Shakespeare scholars and teenagers less familiar with the works of The Bard. (It also played quite well to your crusty “anything-but-a-chick-flick” reviewer…) It’s a testimony to the power of film that Shakespeare In Love will finally make you understand the greatness of Shakespeare and the magic of theatre; while not perfect, it’s good enough to land on my yearly Top-5 without hesitation. A shame it’s not widely released; don’t miss it!