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As You Like It is a film released in 2006, directed by Kenneth Branagh. It is based on the play As You Like It by William Shakespeare. The film's setting is inspired by 19th Century Japan. It was shot on location near London and at Shepperton Film Studios. The never-before-filmed gardens of Wakehurst Place served as the Forest of Arden in the motion picture.

The film is a production of The Shakespeare Film Company, financed by HBO Films. It was released theatrically in Italy on September 1 of 2006 and released on Italian DVD on January 23 of 2007. From there it went to theatres in Greecemarker and Hungarymarker. In the United States, HBO aired the film on TV on the evening of August 21, 2007, but it has never had an extended theatrical release in the U.S., only occasional one-time showings. It received a wide theatrical release in the UK on September 21 of that year, exactly one month after making its U.S. cable TV debut. It was also shown at a meeting of the Shakespeare Association of America that year. In January 2009, the film began playing theatres in Mexicomarker.

On Wednesday, July 8, 2009, the film is scheduled to play one performance at a theatre in San Pedro, California, and will be introduced by David Oyelowo, who plays Orlando in the picture.

As You Like It is, so far, the only one of Kenneth Branagh's Shakespeare films to be released directly to television instead of to theatres in the U.S, though it was not the first to have a very limited theatrical release - Branagh's Love's Labour's Lost played in U.S. theatres only in New York Citymarker, Los Angelesmarker, and Bostonmarker. Love's Labour's Lost was the first of Branagh's Shakespeare films to have such a limited release. His Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, and Hamlet were released theatrically around the world.

The DVD of Branagh's As You Like It was released in the U.S. on September 25, 2007.

Japanese setting

Although the film was not actually made there, Branagh conceived of it as taking place in Japanmarker, at a time in the nineteenth century when many English traders made their homes there - hence the presence of many British actors in the cast in what is supposed to be a Japanese setting. However, the language remained exactly that of Shakespeare's play, and the plot was followed closely. Some critics praised the setting, others found it unnecessary and irrelevant, since the majority of the characters are not Japanese. Branagh however, is well-known for giving his Shakespearean adaptations highly original settings.

Branagh also invented a new prologue, in which ninja warriors stage an attack on Duke Senior and his family while they watch a performance of Kabuki theater. Later on, Orlando fights not merely a wrestler, but, rather humorously, a sumo wrestler.


Although, as evidenced by the 31% score the film receives at Rotten Tomatoes, the film was soundly panned by the British press , the film received very favorable notices from U.S. critics, according to (Culture Wars, a British online publication, in addition to giving the film a notably bad review, erred by stating that actor Kevin Kline plays Touchstone in the film, when in fact, he plays Jaques. Alfred Molina plays Touchstone.)

However, U.S. film critic Stanley Kauffmann, who had admired Branagh's film versions of Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, and Hamlet, blasted the film, saying that he could barely get through it.

Metacritic gives the film a 75% rating, and Metacritic users give it a 9.0 out of 10.0.

Many American critics have hailed the film as a "comeback" for Branagh's Shakespeare adaptations, which had reached what many considered a low point with Love's Labour's Lost.


In January 2008 Kevin Kline received a SAG award (Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries) for his performance in this film, although strictly speaking, the film is not a made-for-television movie; made-for-TV films do not play theatrically in other countries before being released mainly to TV in the U.S. Likewise, Bryce Dallas Howard received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Made-for-TV Film or Miniseries. There was speculation that the film would receive Emmy nominations as well, another unusual honor for a film that was intended for theatres, but it did not. One reason might be that the film may have not been eligible for Emmys, since it was actually made for theatrical release rather than for television, and released to theatres in Europe before being shown on HBO in the U.S.

Cast (in alphabetical order)

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