Shakespeare's farce gets an updating to the late 19th century, and Nunn has crafted a brilliant interpretation of the Bard's comic study of gender-bending, unrequited love and mistaken identity. Having just survived a shipwreck and landing in hostile territory, Viola (Stubbs) disguises herself as an adolescent boy and goes to work for a count, Orsino (Stephens). She falls in love with him, but has to endure his pinings for Olivia (Carter), who, mourning the death of her father and brother, has sworn off love. Orsino sends Viola to propose marriage to Olivia, who immediately is smitten with Viola. Meanwhile, Viola's identical twin (Mackintosh), who she thought died in the shipwreck, returns and the mistaken identity carousel starts to spin. The film's best role is reserved for Hawthorne, whose Malvolio recalls his title character in The Madness of King George. Malvolio, one of Olivia's servants, is tricked into believing that she is in love with him. An amusing meditation on love and desire.
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