Susan Sarandon, John Cassavetes, Gena Rowland, and Molly Ringwald star in a modernized version of Shakespeare’s T￼he Tempest. A partial list of the actors, their movie roles, and the corresponding role in Shakespeare’s comedy is over there on the left.
|Actor||Film Role||Shakespeare Character|
|John Cassavetes||Phillip Dimitrius||Prospero|
|Gena Rowlands||Antonia Dimitrius||NA|
|Susan Sarandon||Aretha Tomalin||Ariel|
|Molly Ringwald||Miranda Dimitrius||Miranda|
|Paul Stewart||Phillip's Father||NA|
|Jerry Hardin||Harry Gondorf||NA|
Unlike Shakespeare’s play, which is centered firmly in the present, the film moves back and forth in time. Each of the major characters, Phillip/Prospero, Antonia, Aretha/Ariel, and Miranda has a flashback that should serve to give some emotional and narrative context to the situation on the island, but which seems to serve primarily to pad out the film.
A major difficulty with the film is that in using Shakespeare’s plot as a framework for his film Paul Mazursky has to compete not only with Shakespeare’s plot, but also with his language. Here the film falls flat. The language is not poetic, nor is there any attempt at an elevated style. When that is added to bad storytelling, a plot that is not involving, and characters who are not attractive, you have a disaster.
Overall, if you are willing to spend over two hours with a Shakespeare knockoff, instead of the original, you might get something out of it, but whether it’s worth the effort is debatable.