Michael Hoffman directs an all-star cast in this version of one of Shakespeare's most popular works, set in Italy in the 1890's. Duke Theseus (David Strathairn) is unhappy because his daughter Helena (Calista Flockhart), passionately in love with Lysander (Dominic West), refuses to marry her suitor Demetrius (Christian Bale). Helena's friend Hermia (Anna Friel) does love Demetrius, but her affection is unrequited. The quartet escape into the woods, with Helena and Lysander determined to elope. Meanwhile, the fairy king and queen Oberon (Rupert Everett) and Titania (Michelle Pfeiffer) are quarrelling, and their dispute entangles a group of amateur actors rehearsing their play.