Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead is a Better Rosaline

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead is a Better Rosaline. Rosaline is a lighthearted romp for Shakespeare fans to enjoy. It isn’t great… but I did laugh, and I did enjoy it, over all. But you might need to be a pretty big Shakespearean Geek in order to get the way Rosaline’s story interleaves between the original script and the adaptations. However, the real win for you right now is in learning about a WAY better alternative than Rosaline…

Sure, Kaitlyn Dever makes me chuckle just looking at her. But it could be because of her outstanding performances in Booksmart and her tragic story in Dopesick. Or maybe Beautiful Boy? I don’t know, but she has a pretty clever comedic intuition and it is well employed here. And, though I’ll grant that the screenplay here isn’t comedic gold, it does most of its hilarity digging in the work of pointing out the silliness of the standard Shakespearean tropes. Sort of how A Knight’s Tale lampooned the assumptions of medieval days but juxtaposing a modern day carriage in support of a historical tale.

But I have a serious weakness for movies that dive into the unseen spaces of Shakespearean plays. And so while Rosaline was cute… if you really want to uncork this untaped vein of Shakespearean goodness, boy, do I have a movie for you. And the best part? Only about 300 people, total, on the planet, have ever heard of it. Hyperbole you say… let’s count in the comments. Comment if you’ve ever heard of the movie, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. See!? There are 4 of us total. I knew it. Gary Oldman. Tim Roth?

Cumberbatch has even done a swatch of the play himself (yes, it was originally a play by Tom Stoppard). You know, the same Stoppard that gave us the Oscar award winning, though controversially Shakespeare in Love, (seeing as though it “beat out”: Elizabeth, Life is Beautiful, The Thin Red Line, and Saving Private Ryan… which is hilarious because all four of those movies handedly beats Shakespeare in Love, and still I adore SIL). But Shakespeare in Love also does this nooks and crannies of Shakespeare’s plays niche really well as well. So, if Rosaline turned your gears, you gotta go back and re-watch that, which can be found here.

But here’s the thing that Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead did so unbelievably well… Stoppard takes two slight characters (if you can even call them that) and has them walk out of their well-defined, if micro-cosmically small parts, and uses them to contemplate the meaning of the universe, life, death, chance, everything. The play (which can be purchased right here) opens with two men, one of which might be Rosencrantz… and the other might be Guildenstern… or the other way round, flipping a coin. And every single time, it’s coming up heads. That’s the audience’s first clue that these two aren’t bound by any sort of mortal coil. And the duo continues to grapple with the problem of whether, or not, they actually exist… but they can’t remember anything prior to the summons for them to come to the castle. The duo follow their lines in the play Hamlet to a T without a single deviation.

So, do yourself a favor… and do this prescribed dosage of medication… exactly as I recommend it here.

Step 1) Watch the movie Hamlet. The Mel Gibson version is okay. Personally, I love the Ethan Hawke version. Or maybe Kenneth Branagh is your jam? Doesn’t really matter, but you are going to need to do this homework ahead of step 2.

Step 2) Then, head over here, and watch Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead for free.

I literally get nothing for pointing you to these two homework assignments. Nothing. And yet, this will be a much better use of your time than even watching Rosaline. Heck, much better use of your anything!

Edited by: CY