‘Love and a bit with a dog,’ that’s all audiences want, according to Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush), owner of London’s Rose Theater. A bit of romance, a bit of comedy — isn’t that really all that movie audiences, too, are after? Shakespeare in Love has both in spades, and it’s the first film of its kind to win Best Picture since 1977’s Annie Hall.
Tom Stoppard, I’ll grant you, is infinitely more clever and more talented than your run-of-the-mill fan-fiction writer. But he’s doing exactly the same thing as those hordes of writers who have continued and expanded upon the adventures of the crew of the Enterprise, the owner of the TARDIS, those two FBI agents down in the basement, and the fictional denizens of a zillion other cultish TV shows.