Kenneth Branagh loves Shakespeare and in this merry interpretation of one of the Bard's underappreciated efforts he has concocted a delightful romantic musical comedy. Blending the text with lyrical numbers by Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and George Gershwin, this film is a treat from start to finish.
In 1939, the King of Navarre (Alessandro Nivola) convinces his three best friends (Kenneth Branagh, Matthew Lillard, and Adrian Lester) to join him in a retreat far from the lure of women. But their rigorous plan for a celibate life of study, self-denial, and simplicity is dashed by a visit of the beautiful Princess of France (Alicia Silverstone) and her three companions (Natascha McElhone, Emily Mortimer, Carmen Ejogo).
Branagh seems to enjoy daring moves and there are plenty here including a Busby Berkeley number in a swimming pool and several lively dancing routines that bring to mind Fred Astaire. Comic relief is provided by Timothy Spall as a Spanish nobleman who lusts after a country maid (Stefania Rocca) and Nathan Lane as a mischievous vaudeville clown. Love's Labour's Lost is a light-hearted delight, tailor-made for those seeking a diversion from the pressures of modern life.