I recently watched “Shakespeare in Love” again. It’s one of my favorite movies, though it has been several years since I have watched it beginning to end. I was reminded once again at how wonderful – truly beauitfully written, acted (less Ben Affleck), directed and photographed- that movie really is. The ending though is so good, so touching, without being overly dribbly, that I thought I’d post the script here.
I’m a person who tends to romanticize too much about the world, which is why maybe I like this ending so much. Whatever the reason I find I like it, hopefully you’ll find your own.
A gaggle of the QUEEN'S favoured courtiers wait by her carriage. WESSEX is hurrying down the exterior staircase as the QUEEN emerges from the theatre. During the following a general egress from the Auditorium is taking place, including some of the actors crowding to see her off. WESSEX bows out of breath. WESSEX Your Majesty! QUEEN Why, Lord Wessex! Lost your wife so soon? WESSEX Indeed I am a bride short. How is this to end? VIOLA has come out of the theatre, amongst some of the other players. The QUEEN catches her eye. QUEEN As stories must when love's denied--with tears and a journey. Those whom God has joined in marriage, not even I can put asunder. QUEEN (CONT'D) (she turns to VIOLA) Lord Wessex, as I foretold, has lost his wife in the play- house--go make your farewell and send her out. It's time to settle accounts. (to WESSEX) How much was the wager? WESSEX Fifty shillings. (the QUEEN gives him a look) Pounds. QUEEN Give it to Master Kent. He will see it rightfully home. WESSEX gives his purse to VIOLA. QUEEN (CONT'D) (to VIOLA) And tell Shakespeare something more cheerful next time for Twelfth Night. The QUEEN proceeds towards her carriage. There is an enormous puddle between her and her carriage. The QUEEN hesitates for a fraction and then marches through the puddle as cloaks descend upon it. QUEEN (CONT'D) Too late, too late. She splashes her way into her carriage, which departs. INT. THE CURTAIN THEATRE. STAGE. DAY. WILL (heartbroken, testing her name) My Lady Wessex? VIOLA nods, heartbroken too. For a long moment they cannot say anything to each other. The she holds up Wessex's purse. VIOLA A hired player no longer. Fifty pounds, Will, for the poet of true love. WILL I am done with theatre. The playhouse is for dreamers. Look where the dream has brought us. VIOLA It was we ourselves did that. And for my life to come I would not have it otherwise. WILL I have hurt you and I am sorry for it. VIOLA If my hurt is to be that you will write no more, then I shall be the sorrier. WILL looks at her. VIOLA (CONT'D) The Queen commands a comedy, Will for Twelfth Night. WILL (harshly) A comedy! What will my hero be but the saddest wretch in the kingdom, sick with love? VIOLA An excellent beginning (a beat) Let him be…a duke. And your heroine? WILL (bitterly) Sold in marriage and half way to America. VIOLA (adjusting) At sea, then--a voyage to a new world?…she lands upon a vast and empty shore. She is brought to the duke…Orsino. WILL (despite himself) Orsino…good name VIOLA But fearful of her virtue, she comes to him dressed as a boy WILL (Catching it) and thus unable to declare her love Pause. They look at each other. Suddenly the conversation seems to be about them. VIOLA But all ends well. WILL How does it? VIOLA I don't know. It's a mystery WILL half smiles. Then he's serious. They look deeply at each other…and rush into each other's arm. WILL (CONT'D) You will never age for me, nor fade, nor die. VIOLA Nor you for me. WILL Good bye, my love, a thousand times good bye. VIOLA Write me well. She kisses him with finality. Then turns and runs from him. WILL watches as she goes. INT. WILL'S ROOM. DAY. A blank page. A hand is writing: TWELFTH NIGHT. We see WILL sitting at his table. WILL (VO) My story starts at sea…a perilous voyage to an unknown land…a shipwreck EXT. UNDERWATER. DAY. Two figures plunge into the water WILL (VO) the wild waters roar and heave…the brave vessel is dashed all to pieces, and all the helpless souls within her drowned INT. WILL'S ROOM. DAY. WILL at his table writing WILL (VO) all save one … a lady EXT. UNDERWATER. DAY. VIOLA in the water WILL (VO) whose soul is greater than the ocean … and her spirit stronger than the sea's embrace … not for her watery end, but a new life beginning on a stranger shore EXT. BEACH. DAY. VIOLA is walking up a vast and empty beach …. WILL (VO CONTINUED) It will be a love story … for she will be my heroine for all time INT. WILL'S ROOM. DAY. WILL looks up from the table. WILL (VO CONTINUED) and her name will be … Viola. He looks down at the paper, and writes: "Viola" Then: "What country friends is this?" EXT. BEACH. DAY. DISSOLVE slowly to VIOLA, walking away up the beach towards her brave new world. THE END