Director Richard Eyre
Starring Claire Danes, Billy Crudup, Ben Chaplin, Tom Wilkinson
This tale of 17th-century stage star Ned Kynaston (Billy Crudup) - - “the most beautiful woman on the London stage” - - had a mayfly's lifespan in cinemas. Which is a shame, as Richard Eyre's Shakespeare In Love-alike is a pleasing romp that examines the blurred lines between the sexes and sexuality.
Famed for his death scene as Othello's Desdemona, Kynaston's life goes tits up, literally, when Charles II (Rupert Everett) decrees that men can no longer play women. In no time at all, Ned's loyal dresser Maria (Claire Danes) has assumed his position as London's most celebrated actress. There are some false notes (why is Everett behaving like he's in a Monty Python sketch?), but visually, Beauty's a knockout and Crudup and Danes excel.
A 20-minute featurette consists of lacklustre interviews with the film's creative braintrust, while Eyre's commentary is detailed but dry.