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stage beauty
Click for full sized poster

Stage Beauty

Starring Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Tom Wilkinson
Screenplay by Jeffrey Hatcher
Based on his play Compleat Female Stage Beauty
Directed by Richard Eyre

IN SHORT: Find it. See it. [Rated R for sexual content and language. 105 minutes]

We had to go into our files and do a quick count so we could honestly report that, of the 110 reviewed films seen prior to screening Stage Beauty (which means we've probably seen between 135 and 150 -- don't ask...), not a single one of 'em holds a candle to the most extraordinary bit of film making called Stage Beauty.

Stage Beauty is the story of famed actor named Edward 'Ned' Kynaston (Billy Crudup). It is 1661 in London, a time when females are banned from the theatrical stage and men like "Ned" have found fame and fortune (and everything that goes with it) by playing women's roles. Thin and hairless as a stick, Ned is the most famous of the 'leading ladies' of the time. That would all be well and good, excepting that it comes to pass that King Charles II (Rupert Everett) decides that women may be granted permission to trod the boards. Ned's career is destroyed even as his former dresser, Maria (Claire Danes), who has tested her thespian talents on illegal stages, rockets to stardom. Her problem? She can't really act. Formal training and employment, of course, is forbidden by law. Once the career is legalized, Maria's popularity is strictly one driven by curiosity. Ned needs emotional help, lest his depression and lack of work opportunities kill him -- he's spent so many years perfecting how to portray a lady that he can no longer behave as a male of the time should. Maria needs help, lest some other woman discover exactly how to act. The latter seeks out the former and sparks of one kind or another fly. Or more simply put, can Maria make a man out of the most famous "woman" of the time?

Honest to God, folks, that's as much as we got written before our back went south big time. You've got to trust us on this one.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Stage Beauty, he would have paid . . .


see it.

amazon com link Click to buy films by Richard Eyre
Click to buy films starring Billy Crudup
Click to buy films starring Claire Danes
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The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.