Stage Beauty (2004) - Drama

Hohum Score



A female theatre dresser creates a stir and sparks a revolution in seventeenth century London theatre by playing Desdemona in Othello. But what will become of the male actor she once worked for and eventually replaced?

IMDB: 7.1
Director: Richard Eyre
Stars: Billy Crudup, Claire Danes
Length: 106 Minutes
PG Rating: R
Reviews: 16 out of 106 found boring (15.09%)

One-line Reviews (79)

Cast members Tom Wilkinson, Claire Danes and Billy Crudup were at the screening, which made it even more exciting.

enjoyed it much more then expected.

The excellent cast, paired with exquisite writing, made for an entirely enjoyable film.

Claire Danes was rather dull as Maria, and I could never believe in Crudup as Kynaston.

The words win out, whether in backstage maneuvering, unexpected honesty (even from the King's mistress!

An enjoyable film overall.

A fascinating tale about men in dresses, women in tights and the theatre in Shakespearean England.

Thoroughly enjoyable because of Richard Eyre's direction and eye for detail.

Though colorful in a superficial sort of way, this was otherwise a silly movie, which took a subject that might have been used intelligently and trivialized it with, among other things, horrible and distracting music that bore little or no relation to the action, a contrived love-story between the two characters (Danes was unconvincing in all respects, and Crudup was unconvincing as a female-role actor, and, as one reviewer pointed out, he was more "feminine" when he wasn't trying to play a woman), and a drawn-out exposition of thin material.

This is a movie worth watching several times.

Melodic, edgy, witty, and visually stunning, "Stage Beauty" is a must see for all film and theatre lovers, and I highly recommend it as a "must see" for any students studying Shakespeare, his contemporaries, or any Renaissance/Restoration/Elizabethan drama.

Billy Crudup does a swell enough job playing a gender-bending actor best known for his/her role as Desdemona in Shakespeare's "Othello," but with its obnoxious score, trite conflict and unnecessary crudity, the movie collapses under its own weight.

Aside from that,the movie was entertaining from beginning to end as the viewer is absorbed into the ways of the theater in the past.

Charles II (a rip-roaring performance from Rupert Everett) seeks to bring real women on the stage to play female roles, putting the likes of Ned Kynaston (a dull Billy Crudup) out of business.

Go see it - great fun and entertaining movie.

The plot is fascinating and based on fact (the transition in English theatrical history from men playing women to women playing women); the art direction and costumes wonderful; the cinematography outstanding; and, best of all, the acting superb.

The brilliant, exciting end of the film is much like the creative process but instead of flowering as it is nurtured, it explodes in a thrilling collaboration.

intriguing theatre shenanigans for adults .

With a slow beginning, which only really progresses once Rupert Everett appears, the film also suffers from the unfortunate fact that it is perhaps too successful in it's portrayal of Crudup's character.

Whereas the love story in Shakespeare in Love was quite well played, and convincing, here it just seems forced at times, and dreary for the rest.

It's an excellent movie, and I highly recommend it.

The acting, scene design, and dialog are all just stunning.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.

This story proves even more compelling because it is between a female and a male who impersonates a female on stage.

Billy Crudup, from his first scene is mesmerising as the male actor immersed in female roles.

The story itself however, suffers from a slow start and a lack of pity for an obnoxious character.

This constant confusion was made clear in several scenes including the end of the movie.

It takes us into that setting, finds evocative characters, and has them bring up plot matters that resonate.

Stunning production.

A Fascinating Search for What Is Male/Female On Stage .

It is dramatic, sometimes wonderfully romantic and fragile, very entertaining and simply beautiful.

Well worth watching.

The script is a delight, the actors are all first rate, especially the wholly immersed Crudup and Danes who could well be part of the Royal Shakespeare Company, so fine is their British sound, demeanor, and Shakespeare!

Overall: Entertaining, could have done with more weird.

It shows ardently how confusing sexual identity can be, and it's role in our relationships to those surrounding us, whose genders determine so much of how we feel towards them.

Enjoyed it much more than "Shakespeare in Love"...

It has more élan, more vulgarity (some of it pointless).

This neatly skips that part and deals in a truly fascinating way with the aftermath.

The gentle role-switching from "man" to "woman" (in alternate parlance, "top" to "bottom" or "dominant" to "submissive") leads to a passionate confusion in which, if you'll notice, Ned tells Maria (astride him) first that she is the "woman" - "And now?

Hatcher simplifies the gender issues by focusing on a play where the leads, "Desdemona" and "Othello," are unambiguous in their sexual poles, which makes Billy Crudup's "Ned Kynaston" tortured self-discovery to move from one role to the other particularly fascinating.


The jokes seemed crude, clumsy, predictable, and while vaguely amusing at times, weren't good enough to make me laugh.

Dazzlingly Entertaining, A Tour De Force .

"Stage Beauty" was visually stunning, lush AND fun for an adult.

'Stage Beauty' takes an intriguing theme and develops it in a more mature way than other films on the topic.

This is an entertaining romp with caricatures rather than characters.

Brilliant and beautiful and breathtaking.

Ned, played with gusto by Billy Crudup, shows an unexpected range, although he has done theatre extensively.

There's a strong supporting cast - especially Rupert Everett (who deserves a Supporting Actor nomination) - plus plenty of laughs, stunning visuals and a script to die for.

Though his is the showier role, he keeps the key low, and creates a character pain-and-rapture filled, intense, vulnerable, savvy and naive: the first card of the Tarot deck, the Fool, the avatar of the human condition, stepping off the precipice while gazing upward at the light, smiling.

Billy Crudup has the perfect face for a Stage Beauty - he is effeminate in costume, yet a stunning man without the visage he dons for his Desdemona.

A visually stunning movie with a superb cast headed by Claire Danes (Maria), Billy Crudup (Ned Kynaston) & Rupert Everett (King Charles II) that enchants as well as creates the Restoration Age in England.

That said it was a very enjoyable film.

Unfortunately this is a 5 minute story dragged across almost 2 hours!

Unique, entertaining & invigorating .

Gender Confusion .

Hatcher's script has no answer for how to make this work, so a super contrived ending must be confabulated to wrap things up neatly.

American celebrities slum it in lead roles, often boring the audience to death, e.

Trite and predictable, right down to its gag-worthy ending.

If you can look past some of the more glaring inaccuracies (if you've ever taken a history of theater class you'll know instantly what I mean), you will be rewarded with a pretty gripping story.

I evidently do not have the theater knowledge of some of the other reviewers but as a film goer with not a few years of experience going to the movies, this was one of the most enjoyable experiences I have ever had.

A talented supporting cast includes Rupert Everett, providing comic relief as the languid King, while Ben Chaplin is sensual as the self-serving Duke.


The psychological intricacies presented in several intense scenes regarding "gender" were vividly heart-wrenching.

We sat for the first few minutes wondering whether we'd come to the right film (expecting a formulaic period romp).

Unfortunately Danes is as flat as a hedgehog on the M1 in her delivery of Maria, and her 'love' for Ned and aspirations for the stage simply bore.

But, as has been said, the play is the thing and the acting here is uniformly engrossing, indeed superb.

The most enjoyable part of the movie is a love scene, the most hideous part of the movie is a love scene, the most hairy part of the movie is retribution and the best part of the movie is that "All's Well that Ends Well" is in the ending.

The rest of the cast is breathtaking, making each role a gem.


This film is waste of time, I went to see it at a free preview screening, don't waste your money!

The story is dynamics, interesting, entertaining, engaging and surprising.

It's a very unique production, and entertaining on so many levels: The storyline is quirky and edifying, the characters are rich and humorous, the cinematography/set/costuming have life and colour, and both Billy Crudup and Claire Danes put in high quality performances.

Billy Crudup's performance is awe inspiring.

Summing up: Highly entertaining with an ensemble cast at their peak.

And for a little while I was prepared to spend the rest of the evening apologising to my partner for the slowness and oddness of the film.

The score keeps pace with the action and the story gallops along to its breathtaking conclusion.

Billy Crudup and Claire Danes are a great team, and the scenes between the two of them are compelling and totally engrossing.

The score is evocative, with twangs of Scots influence.