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Jan 18 2016
by Kailyn Slater

Shakespeare 101: Movies to Watch If You Didn't Read the Book

By Kailyn Slater - Jan 18 2016

Reading Shakespeare can be a drag. Especially when you wait until the night before your midterm is due. So, in case you (inevitably) wait until the last minute (as usual), here's a cheat sheet for your viewing pleasure (procrastination). 

Pretty Close to the Real Thing (And Will Need an Explanation For):

1. Romeo + Juliet (1996)

Starring the always-gorgeous Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, this came out the year you were probably born. But, be cautious: this adaptation isn't the straight play (for example, the Montagues and Capulets are actually separate entities of the mafia) even though Leo sounds and looks just like (your) Romeo. 

2. A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999)

What could be better than Stanley Tucci before "The Devil Wears Prada" and "The Hunger Games?" Quite a few things, actually: this particular version was rated 6.5/10 on IMDb. But, it's good enough to get you through this fantastical (Get it? Fairies?) play. 

3. Much Ado About Nothing (2012)

Rated slightly better than "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1999), this recent adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing was produced entirely in black and white. Mostly everything is the same as the original, except that Conrade's gender is switched and some random flat characters were eliminated. 

4. The Tempest (2010)

Very similar to "Much Ado About Nothing" (2012), this version of The Tempest is basically the same as the original, yet Prospero becomes Prospera (played by Helen Mirren (!!!)) and becomes the wife of the Duke instead of the Duke himself, creating a more feminist-style journey to independence for Prospera. 

5. Othello (1995)

This version of Othello was actually filmed in Italy, where the original was set to take place--however, it was noted that this version ADDED scenes to the play, while cutting others. It is good for the gist of things, but be weary of the actuality of each scene. I would keep your copy of "Othello" with you at your side while watching this. 

6. Macbeth (2015)

Mmmm, Michael Fassbender. Need I say more? 

Anyway, this version JUST came out in the United States and, like "Othello" (1995) was filmed in its originally intended location: Scotland. As it was released in the US less than a month ago, finding your own version online might be difficult, but there's always a way. Especially for Fassbender.

Great Adaptations You Probably Know of Already (But you shouldn't substitute for reading the book):

1. She's the Man (Twelfth Night)

2. 10 Things I Hate About You (The Taming of the Shrew)

3. The Lion King (Hamlet)

4. West Side Story (Romeo & Juliet)

Lead Image: The Telegraph (UK), GIFs: Tumblr

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Kailyn Slater - School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Kailyn Slater is a first year student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago studying Art & Technology Studies, Sculpture, Writing, Video, and Sound. She does everything and anything with a computer, while concurrently eating waffles and being sarcastic.

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