In the Bleak Midwinter

In the Bleak Midwinter (Kenneth Branagh, 1995) Michael Maloney, Richard Briers, Joan Collins, Nicholas Farrell, Mark Hadfield, Gerard Horan, Celia Imrie, Julia Sawalha, John Sessions; aka A Midwinter's Tale in the USA

Hamlet staged in a village church. Viewed on a dub from videotape, so not ideal. I couldn't understand some key dialogue, and it was out of sync. Seems to work pretty well. Jennifer Saunders miscast.

I recently read an article which claimed that Kenneth Branagh 'wants to do everything'. This project is emblematic: he's directing a film in which a theatre director is also playing the lead role in the play, while empathising with all the other actors.

Roger Ebert, noted critic of the Chicago Sun-Times, gave the film 3/4 stars, praising the performances and Branagh's screenplay. James Berardinelli praised the film, giving it 3.5/4 stars, stating, "No current film maker appears to love and understand Shakespeare as well as Branagh, and never has his affection for the Bard been more apparent than here. This picture succeeds as a comedy, a satire, and even, to a certain extent, as a mild melodrama about choosing between a paycheck and the nourishment of the soul." Berardinelli concluded, "Anyone who wondered about Branagh's future following Frankenstein can set their concerns to rest. He's back on top in the independent arena with A Midwinter's Tale, a film that offers ninety-eight minutes of pure fun re-interpreting the phrase 'the play's the thing'."

Garry Gillard | reviews | New: 16 September, 2023 | Now: 16 September, 2023