Not sure if there's a point in commenting this movie after reading Amy Taubin's essay for the Criterion release, but here it goes anyway: a delightful/melancholy rendering not only of intricate backstage proceedings but also of demanding creative processes and their toll on the personal lives of artists in late 19th century England, exquisitely produced (the costumes! The décor!), generously performed by the cream-of-the-crop of Mike Leigh's loyal troupe.
Majestic, dead-serious epic about innate decency and innate treachery in intelligent species. There is not a hint of foolishness in the characters' interaction - they all survived devastating tragedies and still manage to go on, even if unable to be completely happy or carefree again. This is a summer blockbusters tinged with melancholy.
A Roland Emmerich production this ain't.