This light comedy, "Shakespeare in Love" has the theatre owner running from the further torture of coals to feet by gambling that he can become solvent again if Shakespeare's new comedy, "Romeo and Ethel," will sell. When Shakespeare learns that his lover has cheated on him, he burns this play. While he is desperately trying to keep the company solvent, Shakespeare suffers from writer's block. He cannot find a young man to play his one role, so Lady Viola (Gwenyth Paltrow), later his forbidden lover who is the daughter of a wealthy merchant, disguises herself as a young man playing a woman--certainly the most humorous part. She auditions as Thomas Kent. The result is a well-acted play because Lady Viola is truly a Juliet for she and Shakespeare begin a torrid love affair.
Viola knows that the love affair cannot last as her parents will not approve of william Shakespeare. When she is called to court, Shakespeare wears a woman's clothing and accompanies her. At court, Shakespeare goads Essex to bet 50 pounds that "Romeo and Juliet" cannot capture the nature of love. Queen Elizabeth agrees to attend so all will be fair.
Of course, Wessex loses this bet. However, the Master of Revels discovers that there is a woman in the company and the theatre is closed. Meanwhile, Shakespeare is offered only one show at "The Curtain," so he dresses as Romeo because there are not enough players.
On the night of the performance, the boy who is to play Juliet, experiences the voice changes of puberty. Secretly taking his place is Viola, who has just gotten married. The new Romeo and Juliet's passionate performance inspires the entire audience.
The website below might be able to give you a brief summary of the film. I think that any summary should center around the development of the writing of "Romeo and Juliet" and the developing love between William Shakespeare and Lady Viola. The film itself is a very good representation of Shakespearean diction and dialogue. The spoke dialogue between both lovers bears much in the way of the evolution of the spoken words of the two star- crossed lovers. The film also shows in an extremely good manner the political dimension to the creation of art and how the navigation of political personalities are sometimes more dramatic and intriguing than the actual art itself. The acting is very stellar as well as the recreation of Elizabethan England.