Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of giving an online workshop on How To Teach Your Children Shakespeare with Sarah Mackenzie as part of her Read Aloud Revival series (which you should definitely check out, if you haven't already.) We had tons of fun, and I really enjoyed answering questions from the workshop participants towards the end of our discussion.
Along those lines, a homeschool mom wrote to me just before the workshop with a question about the best PG or PG-13 rated Shakespeare movies for teenagers. Here's my response:
"Here are my four favorite general-release movies of Shakespeare, all comedies, and they're all quite tame.
Much Ado About Nothing, 1993, with Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson - PG-13 but there's nothing in it I wouldn't show my own 14 year-old-daughter. It's exhilarating and loads of fun.
A Midsummer Night's Dream, 2008, with Kevin Kline - also PG-13, and it's also quite tame.
The Taming of the Shrew, 1967, with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, unrated because of its date; also very tame and loads of fun.
Twelfth Night, 1996, with Helena Bonham-Carter - PG! A fun version of my very favorite play.
Please be aware that because these are general-release movies, they don't have all the Shakespeare text in them. Movie producers cut the plays a lot for general-release movies to make the movies more user-friendly. Personally, when I see Shakespeare on screen, I want to see the whole play, and the best way to do that these days is to go to the Globe Player. It's a website that streams productions from the Globe Theatre in London. Go to www.globeplayer.tv and for a small charge, you can rent or buy their recent productions. They are beautifully photographed and I love them. Of course, some productions are better than others, and I would especially recommend their Much Ado About Nothing with Eve Best and Charles Edwards - really the best Much Ado I've ever seen. Their Twelfth Night (all male, as it was done in Shakespeare's time); it's the funniest, most joyous version of the play I've ever seen. And their Tempest and Merry Wives of Windsor.
I hope this has been helpful. Please tell your daughters I wish them all the fun in the world with their wonderful choice to learn Shakespeare.