Critics on Jude Law’s Hamlet: Overall, Less Than Kind


Jude Law’s Hamlet at the Broadhurst Theater — perhaps aided, publicity-wise, by his recently-revealed, alleged love child — is a big deal. The Times‘ Ben Brantley says Law “approaches his role with the focus, determination and adrenaline level of an Olympic track competitor staring down an endless line of hurdles.” This is not a kudo: Brantley says Law brings to all the famous soliloquies “the same athletic gusto and no trace of fatigue (or modulation).” John Simon, who hates everything, hates also this “jack-in-the-box Hamlet,” while admitting “such is Law’s charm that he gets away with a fair amount of this nonsense.”

On the other hand, the Daily News‘ Joe Dziemianowicz finds the performance “spine-tingling and richly layered… [Law] may have been nude in his first Broadway show, back in 1995 in Indiscretions, but he couldn’t have been as revealing as he is now.” Though Law “starts out too overwrought,” says David Cote in Time Out New York, “he holds court at the center of his scenes with an intensity, intelligence and awestruck wonder that puts most Hamlets I’ve seen to shame.”

But it ain’t over till our own Michael Feingold sings: Law “brings a tremendous vital energy to the role of Hamlet,” he says in the new Voice, and “in a real production, he could be one of the great Hamlets,” but the current Michael Grandage staging, which “has no more to do with Shakespeare’s Hamlet than a paint-by-numbers kit has to do with Rembrandt,” defeats him.

So, the final verdict is: There’s a star in a Broadway show! Go see!