“Love’s Labour’s Lost” has never been one of Shakespeare’s most accredited plays. It is nothing like Romeo and Juliet, which has been told in numerous different ways and many different adaptations. Actually, “Love’s Labour’s Lost” has only two movie adaptations, which includes Kenneth Branagh’s version that was released in 2000. Branagh shows a completely different take on Shakespeare’s original text. In fact, he cut the original text down to 25 percent and filled in the gaps with 1930’s musical numbers. Shakespeare wrote “Love’s Labour’s Lost” in the mid 1590’s to be performed in front of Queen Elizabeth. However, Kenneth Branagh’s setting of his version is in Europe during the 1930s. Nevertheless, in both versions the main basis of the story remains the same and so do the names of the characters. And yet, they are told completely differently.
“Love’s Labour’s Lost” is one of Shakespeare’s least popular plays. It was not actually acted out for more than 200 years after Shakespeare’s death and it was the only one that was not staged in the 18th century. Shakespeare is best known for using his highly descriptive words so that the plays can be told without big elaborate scenes and dramatic music. His word usage tells the story all on its own. And “Love’s Labours Lost” is no different with its poetic and highly elaborate use of language. This ultimately makes the play very difficult to act out on stage and be understood by the viewers.
However, Kenneth Branagh’s version of “Love’s Labours Lost” is a romantic Hollywood musical. He used “25% of Shakespeare's original text in his movie” (Carson) and filled in the parts that he omitted with music from 1930’s musicals, which includes songs from the Gershwins, Cole Porter, and Irving Berling. However, Branagh did not stray completely away from Shakespeare’s plot. They actually use comedy throughout the plots, but he adds on a whole twist to the end of the movie.
In both, Shakespeare’s and Branagh’s versions the four main characters are the King of Navarre and his three noblemen named Berowne, Dumaine, and Longaville. They all decide to take an oath to swear off women, drinking, and dining for three years so they can improve their minds. Just as they agree to this pledge they are informed by Berowne that the Princess of France and her handmaidens, Rosaline, Maria, and Katherine, are coming to town for diplomatic matters. The men are troubled and do not know what to do with the women. So the king places the beautiful princess and her handmaidens in a tent in the park at his estate. Predictably, the king falls for the princess and the noblemen fall for her handmaidens at first glance. In Branagh’s version the couple’s outfits are color coded to match their match and so are their personalities. All four men try to hide their love for the ladies, which results in the handmaidens deciding to have their own type of fun by declaring “civil war of wits” (Shakespeare 27). They feel that the king and his men are...