Much Ado About Nothing

Primary Creator
Playwright William Shakespeare
Director Kenneth Branagh
Actor Kenneth Branagh
Actor Emma Thompson
Actor Kate Beckinsale
Actor Keuna Reeves
Actor Denzel Washington
Actor Robert Sean Leonard
Actor Michael Keaton
Screenplay Kenneth Branagh
Cinematographer Rober Lanser
Production Design Tim Harvey
Art Direction Martin Childs
Costume Design Phyllis Dalton
Film Editor Andrew Marcus
Duration111 minutes
Name of WorkMuch Ado About Nothing
Production Date1993
Production Location

Current Location

Media Typesfilm
General Notes

This film has superb production values, and the art director, costumer designer, cinematographer, etc. etc. deserve praise in integrating this into a grand visual experience of lightness and joy in an idyllic setting. I found this a difficult artwork to categorize as to "Thematic" or "Experiential". I was inclined to make it Thematic because I found it extremely pleasurable visually. But on the idea that perceptual pleasure alone is not enough to make an artwork have a overarching deep idea, I decided to put it in Experiential. It is at the high end of Experiential, it offers great delight and pleasure. But in combination with the zany comedy aspects, I found it hard to claim it had any serious theme. Not that "serious" has to be troubled, or dramatic or difficult, since a story with great happiness and love can be a serious theme and thus Thematic, but the basic fact of how much a silly comedy this work was intended to be, I think it needed to go in Experiential. Not that I couldn't make some argument for putting it in Thematic, so this is a work that could be a classic "borderline case".


A story of love and a beauteous place, interrupted by a touch of malevolence. An idyllic world of privileged leisure is presented at the estate of Leonato. The men return from a war, and poetry, merriment and love ensues. But Don John, a bastard brother of the prince is intent of making everyone miserable, because he is. He engineers to convince Claudio and his brother that Claudio's betrothed (Hero) has been de-flowered and thus is not deserving of marriage. Meanwhile two sharp-tongued proto-lovers, Beatrice (Thompson) and Benedick (Branagh) wage verbal war at each other, but are connived by others in the household to show their true feeling for each other. The plot to sully Hero's reputation is eventually uncovered by the idiot sheriff (Keaton), and Don John is banished for his evil methods. Happiness and merriment reigns again.

Emotional Sum or Sense-of-life

Sweetness and light and beauty are what the world is made of.

Context Information

Filmed in a town in Chianti in Tuscany.