[VIDEO REVIEWS]Gwyneth winneth and loseth heartsAs an alternately fat and thin woman in "Shallow Hal," or a precocious playwright who smokes in her bathroom all day in "The Royal Tenenbaums," Gwyneth Paltrow packs versatility and draws mainstream popularity.
At one point, Paltrow's claim to fame was being the photogenic actress engaged to Brad Pitt. The engagement eventually collapsed, but Paltrow won recognition on her own by taking the best actress Oscar in March 1999 for her performance in "Shakespeare in Love."
Watch for her in the coming comedies "Austin Powers 3" and "A View From the Top" and the romance "Possession." Here are two of her older movies, available on video.
SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE (1998)
Directed by John Madden. Starring Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Rupert Everett, Geoffrey Rush, Tom Wilkinson and Colin Firth.
'Tis true, William Shakespeare is a great bard of romance. But once, according to this fictionalized biography, the bard was in the shadow of his peer and top rival, Christopher Marlowe (Everett).
Shakespeare (Fiennes) is the resident bard at the Rose Theater. The theater owner, Henslowe (Rush), is in debt to the local moneylender (Wilkinson). Henslowe offers him a partnership in Shakespeare's latest play, "Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate King's Daughter," a comedy in progress. The problem is, as Shakespeare tells his pychotherapist, he has broken his quill.
Just when Shakespeare is in desperate need of inspiration, it comes in the form of Viola De Lesseps (Paltrow), a well-to-do woman engaged to Lord Wessex (Firth). From her upper-crust seat at the theater, Viola has fallen in love with drama, and dreams of acting. But in London of 1593, women are banned from the stage. Viola chooses to disguise herself as a man named Thomas Kent to audition for the role of Romeo. Shakespeare is dumbstruck with awe. He chases the actor home, meets Viola the woman, and falls in love - perfect fodder for a romantic tale.
Paltrow beat out Cate Blanchett in "Elizabeth," Fernanda Montenegro in "Central Station," Meryl Streep in "One True Thing" and Emily Watson in "Hilary and Jackie" to win her first and only Oscar.
SLIDING DOORS (1998)
Directed by Peter Howitt. Starring Gwyneth Paltrow, John Hannah, John Lynch and Jeanne Tripplehorn.
Where does the "road not taken" end? Can a trivial, unconscious decision set off a chain of events that alters your life disastrously? Howitt explores such questions in this romantic comedy.
Helen (Paltrow) is fired from her public relations job one morning, and goes to catch the train home. In one scene, she slips through the sliding doors of the train, meets a charming man named James (Hannah), and goes home to find her lover, Gerry (Lynch), in bed with another woman (Tripplehorn). But then an alternate story line begins: She misses the train, is almost mugged and fails to discover Gerry's infidelity.
As the two stories develop, the characters take on completely different identities, all because of one moment.
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