Yes...'Anonymous' is a political thriller, but it's one that is set in the past...400 years ago to be precise. The film, directed by Roland Emmerich and written by John Orloff (took him 15 drafts to get it right) supports the premise that Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, (Rhys Ifans)a prominent aristocrat, was the real author of the works attributed to William Shakespeare.
Sounds dull? Believe me, it's anything but.
Whether you agree with the premise or not, 'Anonymous' is an exciting, sexy, suspensful, exquisitely acted and intriguing film...One that will make you think and question.
When 'Anonymous' opens, we found ourselves in the present. A scholar, (Sir Derek Jacobi) gets out of a taxi, rushes into a theater and steps onto a stage. He looks out at the audience and announces that...'William Shakespeare never wrote a single word'. That in fact, Shakespeare was illiterate. He says a few other things as well and then...
We are whisked back in time...to the early 17th century when England was an empire and she was ruled by Elizabeth 1 (Vanessa Redgrave) The Virgin Queen...who was anything but a virgin.
'Anonymous' is not only a thriller but a complex one...with many, many players and lots of flashbacks and flashforwards. This makes it imperative that you pay very close attention to what's happening on the screen. If you take a bathroom break, you'll be lost.
Besides the above mentioned Queen Elizabeth and the 17th Earl Of Oxford, here are some of the other major players... . Queen Elizabeth, as a very horny, young woman (played by Vanessa's daughter, Joely Richardson) We find out later on that The Virgin Queen had several bastard children... One child was with the young, Earl Of Oxford (Jamie Campbell Bower)...The poor Earl doesn't discover this until much later in life. Note: Important plot point.
Queen Elizabeth has two extremely religious and equally devious advisors in her Court...Robert Cecil (Edward Hogg) and his creepy, hunchback son William (David Thewlis) They will stop at nothing to maintain their power over the Queen.
Playwright, Sebastian Armesto (Ben Johnson) who relunctantly agrees to help the older Earl get his plays produced. Since many of the plays ('Hamlet', 'MacBeth' and 'Richard the 3rd') makes fun of the political leaders in power, the Earl couldn't possibly take credit for them...Not if he wants to 'keep his head'.
And who does Sebastian find to take credit for these masterpieces?...None other than an illiterate, buffoon actor by the name of...William Shakespeare. (Rafe Spall).
As in any good political drama, we have battles, beheadings, palace intrigue, double-crosses, even some incest.
For over ninety years, literary scholars have been investigating the true authorship of the plays, poems and sonnets attributed to the Bard. Shakespeare left behind no manuscripts, no writings of any kind. Apparently his father, wife and daughter were all illiterate. In his later years, William became a businessman and never wrote another word.
But no matter what you believe, one thing is for sure..'Anonymous' is a stylish, thrilling, spectacle with Oscar worthy performances and definitely deserving of the 4 1/2 bagels it received from me.
Once again the 'Two Jews On Film' do not share the same taste in movies...Check out our video
'Anonymous' opens in theaters Friday, October 28, 2011.
I always accepted the idea that Shakespeare wrote his own plays, and considered anything to the contrary to be merely speculation not fact. So, the premise-what if Shakespeare never wrote a word, I found not to be appealing. Upon reading some good reviews, I decided to see it, and found it to be a high quality production and a wonderful experience. Director Roland Emmerich previously directed 2012, and Independence Day, and writer John Orloff previously wrote some episodes … more
Anonymous received some very mixed reviews. I am not sure why. I thought it was excellent. I love the graphically created London of the time period. The costumes were authentic. And the acting was superb. Vanessa Redgrave was extraordinary in my opinion. Even if you don't buy the theory behind the authorship of Shakespeare's presented in the film, its still a well written thought provoking screenplay.
I have to disagree with the luke warm reviews of the movie Anonymous. I found it to be very well made. It has an interesting take on the Shakespheare legend. The acting is top notch, a bit over the top at times, but still great fun to watch. Vanessa Redgrave chews the scenery in classic fashion. The special effects recreating Elizabethan London are fantastic. I enjoyed watching Vanessa and her grand daughter play the same role at different ages. I … more
Star Rating: With all due respect to the writing and literature professors I depended on to educate me as I earned both a Bachelors and a Masters in English, I feel I must admit that I haven’t read a word written by William Shakespeare, nor have I seen one of his plays. I’ve heard nothing but good things, though. And looking back on his history, I marvel at the fact the he rose from his very humble roots to become what many consider the greatest … more
My husband (creator of the cult classic films FACES OF DEATH) andmyself (actress/screenwriter) are ex New Yorkers, see alot of films and usually disagree. So our friends decided that we need a review … more
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