Film Comment’s Essential Cinema: Much Ado About Nothing

Posted by Erik Luers on 1.17.2014

Premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2012, Joss Whedon's cinematic adaptation of Williams Shakespeare's classic Much Ado About Nothing has been selected by Film Comment magazine as one of 15 films in their Essential Cinema series of articles. Shot in less than two weeks in Whedon's home, the film, which also had a special screening here at the Film Society of Lincoln Center this past summer, has been praised for its humor and deft touch. It won an award from the National Board of Review for being one of the top 10 independent films of the year. "From its very first scenes," A.O. Scott wrote in The New York Times, "Mr. Whedon's film crackles with a busy, slightly wayward energy that recalls the classic romantic sparring of the studio era." The film stars Whedon regulars such as Nathan Fillion, Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker, Clark Gregg and many more.

Writing for Film Comment, Geoffrey O’Brien discussed the film's place in the vast cannon of Shakespeare adapatations.

Whedon doesn’t build up atmosphere to prepare the audience for the exoticism of Shakespearean language. There is no attempt to “sell” the text—the play merely unfolds as if it were the most natural thing in the world for a bunch of well-heeled Californians, corporate honchos, and their associates (from the looks of them) to express themselves matter-of-factly in Elizabethan English. It is the most American Shakespeare movie I’ve seen.

Much Ado About Nothing is currently available on home video and for digital download.

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