c. 1993

Shakespeare’s not for everyone.

Neither’s rap music. But each can turn a catchy phrase.

And in the hands of director/actor Kenneth Branagh, Shakespeare can be a pleasure to watch. Branagh’s 1993 film “Much Ado About Nothing” is about as easy to follow as the Bard ever gets. You’ve got two lovers whose impending marriage is threatened by villainous schemes. And you have another couple where both the man and the woman love to use words like rapiers to verbally cut each other up (or down).  It’s a comedy, so you know these two witty ones are destined for each other’s arms, but it’s still a hoot to watch how their friends and family conspire to bring them together.

Yes, I know it’s not King Lear or Hamlet, but I still count it as my favorite slice of ol’ Will. And this film offers a solid cast (including Branagh, Emma Thompson, Denzel Washington, Michael Keaton and Keanu Reeves), plus the sun-kissed setting of an Italian villa and a merry pace. It’s a great film to watch as the storytellers work their magic.

Here is a trailer.