Stage Beauty

Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Rupert Everett, Tom Wilkinson, Ben Chaplin

Directed by Richard Eyre
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 3
Community: star rating
5 3 0
October 6, 2004

Being a guy, Billy Crudup can't qualify as Best Actress, but he does a hell of a job playing the "most beautiful woman on the London stage." In the seventeenth century, women were banned from acting. Men played all the women's roles, and nobody did it better than Ned Kynaston (Crudup). His dying Desdemona in Shakespeare's Othello brought down the house. Just ask Margaret Hughes (Claire Danes), Ned's dresser, who yearns for the guy until she catches him going at it with the Duke of Buckingham (Ben Chaplin). But when King Charles II (Rupert Everett is a hoot and a half) rules that women can now strut onstage, Margaret is suddenly a and Ned must struggle to play men. Expertly directed by Richard Eyre (Iris) from Jeffrey Hatcher's play, the film is bawdy fun. But Crudup pierces the heart in an audition that has Ned trying to squelch his feminine side. When Ned and Margaret co-star in Othello — Crudup and Danes pair up beautifully — the gender role-playing puts spine in this period piece that is vital to the here and now.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Santa Monica”

    Everclear | 1996

    After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

    More Song Stories entries »