24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The truth about Shakespeare lies elsewhere
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...
Published 18 months ago by L. Power
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring and yeah
I was very interested in seeing this movie for a long time and was excited to finally watch in on demand, but after 30 minutes the characters and overall plot bored me, not to mention all the characters looked the same and after a while they started to blend together and I couldn't remember who was who. The positives were the visuals and costumes which were terrific and...
Published 12 months ago by koolz03
Most Helpful First | Newest First
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The truth about Shakespeare lies elsewhere,
This review is from: Anonymous Bilingual (DVD)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 of Band of Brothers, and as you watch this movie you will realise this term BoB originated with Shakespeare.
Anonymous proposes the Earl of Oxford wrote all the plays, anonymously donated them to Ben Johnson, a well known writer of the time for him to take credit. Then an uncouth illiterate actor, named Shakespeare steps in to claim the credit. The peer remained anonymous for reasons of social acceptability.
Another reason he may have remained anonymous which I totally loved was the parallel structure between what happened in the plays, and the real life events of the courtiers and Queen Elizabeth. Cecil, the courtier villain in this movie is a hunchback (historical fact), and brother in law of the Earl of Oxford. Richard 3 in Shakespeare's play is a hunchback, so the play becomes a social satire.
A scene where a man is stabbed through a curtain mirrors a scene in Hamlet. A usurped heir is sent to Ireland, and there is a plot to kill him, similar to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Hamlet.
Emmerich's direction gives Anonymous a much grander scope. We have big set pieces, such as a rebel attack on a bridge leading to the tower of London, rowing a boat in the Thames with the London skyline looming behind, an aerial shot of a huge crowd in the snow, and visual scenes of quite unsanitary London of the time, and he evokes the period very well. For example it rains on the actor in the theater, as he recites his lines. Certain scenes play out in ways we have not scene before, particularly Hamlet's soliloquy where he holds a knife, Richard 3 as caricature, crowd interaction and participation, sweet talking bawdy ladies with Shakespeare's words. I loved this. Visually outstanding, with exquisite and intricate costumes.
I liked the lead actors charisma and presence. He was so in character and looked older for the part that I did not recognise him till the credits. Rhys Ifans starred in Notting Hill, and Pirate Radio. He does a terrific job, perhaps his best work, as does the actor who plays Johnson. There is a particular scene between the two of them at the end that makes me tear up even as I write. Derek Jacobi, begins and ends the movie opening and closing the premise.
Vanessa Redgrave plays the doddering confused queen, and her daughter Joely Richardson plays her younger self, who has a torrid affair with the Earl of Oxford when she was young, producing an illicit heir. The queen has several torrid affairs which become part of the plot of succession. Shakespeare was played by Rafe Spall, son of Timothy Spall, who you have probably seen in several movies.
If the screenwriter was hoping to persuade me, he certainly made me think. Perhaps he goes too overboard with Shakespeare having a unique form of illiteracy, he can read words and memorise them but he can't write, and yet he is a scheming manipulative lout, a criminal, a drunkard, a successful entrepreneur, and a sociopath. Asked to speak to a crowd he stumbles inarticulately over his words. If Shakespeare was as inarticulate, and uneducated as portrayed, how could he have convinced anyone of his genius when he lacked the most basic skills of expression.
If not Shakespeare, then who?
Almost two centuries passed before anyone seriously questioned Shakespeare's authorship. It has been suggested that Sir Francis Bacon wrote these plays, but why would an already famous writer still living when Shakespeare's First Folio was published in 1623 give credit to someone else. DeVere appears to be the current favorite among conspiracy theorists. If DeVere was excluded from the court, as he is in the movie then he would not be in a position to satirise the court, or include such pointed commentary in his plays. DeVere as a child in the movie performs a piece from Midsummer nights dream for the queen. He could hardly have written it as an adult then, could he? Curiously, at times the movie appears to undermine its own premise.
It has been suggested that Sir Thomas North, (North of Shakespeare Amazon USA), wrote the materials on which some of Shakespeare's plays were based.
He translated Plutarch's Lives, a source for Shakespeare plays such as Julius Caesar, Coriolanus, and Anthony and Cleopatra. According to this book, Shakespeare purchased North's works, and adapted them from the page to the stage. In some cases corresponding passages in Shakespeare mirror North word for word. Rosalinde from As You Like It apparently is Elisa Nord, (north)North's daughter.
According to Who Wrote Shakespeare? by John Michell, 26 different candidates have been proposed as the author of Shakespeare. I consider this an outstanding and well researched book, which lists all the candidates, and argues pro and con without taking sides, and is a good source of facts including Jonson's eulogy, and details about the Bard's will. Another book Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? by James Shapiro argues the established view, and rebuts alternative authorship. It's worth exploring both these books to have a more global understanding of all the issues.
Hamlet was adapted from a centuries old story called Amleth, and had several iterations. Numerous changes were made to Amleth, making it way darker according to Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories.
In the movie Ben Johnson proclaims sincere affection for DeVere's language skills.
In reality, Ben Johnson famously said of Shakespeare: "he would... buy the reversion of old plays,"but then mark not whose 'twas first: and after-times may judge it to be his..."On Poet Ape.
The movie claims no manuscript written by Shakespeare survives. If you don't have evidence that Shakespeare wrote something, does that mean you have evidence someone else wrote it? You cannot infer alternative authorship from a negation, only from evidence. If you have evidence that these plays were previously written, and performed or were adapted from books, then you can verify that Shakespeare was not the originator, merely wrote a version, and credit the original source. It seems that with some of these plays, they were circulating already, and then Shakespeare wrote a version, or made his own adaptation, which then became the definitive version.
Only 9 of the 36 plays in the First Folio, were previously published, many were first registered anonymously, and a further 9 plays, pirated versions, previously published under the name of Shakespeare were rejected as Shakespeare plays. In addition the Sonnets in 1609 were apparently published without Shakespeare's authority or consent, and quickly pulled by the publisher.
Undoubtedly, this movie will stimulate debate and controversy. The idea that he didn't write a single word goes too far in my opinion, it would be interesting to know for sure what he did and did not write. I do think this is one of the best movies I have seen all year.
Wherever you stand on this, I highly recommend you see it, consider it, and form your own opinion. If you're like me, it's too tabloidy to be taken seriously, the once virgin queen now a nympho, having an illegitimate son with the real Shakespeare, and so on.
Even if like me you do not agree with the premise, you might be surprised to discover you still love the movie.
I think you will enjoy it, and I hope this was helpful.
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting theory about shakespeare and the timeless plays,
This review is from: Anonymous Bilingual (DVD)The movie itself was very, very good in my opinion. I am a big fan of Shakespeare and therefore I really wanted to give this movie a go and I'm very happy I did. The movie offers an interesting theory that Will was illiterate and a simple actor who took the credit for a number of plays written by a knobleman. I personally still believe that Shakespeare probably wrote his plays but I was obviously not there so I do not know, that is why I love this movie it offers an alternative idea and is in itself an excellent story telling the story not only of Will but of many other writes. It is also a very good laugh. Would recommend this movie to anyone who likes different views on the story of the famous writings.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A "Tempest" In A Teacup.,
This review is from: Anonymous Bilingual (DVD)As someone who believes that Shakespeare did write his own plays, I am rather puzzled by the outright hostility that ANONYMOUS is receiving in some quarters. Most (but not all) of the negative reviews are from people who cannot get past the central conceit that someone else may have written them. ANONYMOUS never claims to be historically accurate. In fact it is littered with several blatant historical inaccuracies (Shakespeare murdering Christopher Marlowe 5 years after the fact, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM written by a child of 10, Queen Elizabeth's funeral procession on a frozen river Thames, the Tudor Rose was an emblem not a flower) that make it quite clear that this is intended to be a work of historical fiction. So was SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE but no one got upset over that film at least not to the extent that they have here.
What we do have is a major "what if" scenario that works quite well as an Elizabethan costume drama with some seriously heavy overtones ("Delicious isn't it? Right out of a Greek tragedy" says Robert Cecil toward the end). Edward Hogg's portrayal of Robert Cecil is outstanding and David Thewlis as his father William is virtually unrecognizable. Kudos also to Sebastian Armesto as a conflicted Ben Jonson. In fact, I found all of the performances to be solid and above average and they kept me interested in the proceedings. The recreation of Elizabethan London is marvelous and shows that CGI can be used to great effect (like glass painting in old Hollywood movies) without resorting to blowing things up. I truly got the feeling that I was actually watching a performance at the Globe Theater especially when the rain began to fall.
I should point out that I saw this film in a movie theater on four occasions. The first time the film got stuck about 30 minutes into it and literally melted which added a sense of drama that the filmmakers never intended. The last time I saw it was with a bunch of college students in attendance. While they knew that what they were seeing was historically false, they still got caught up in the dramatic storyline and were shaken by the final revelation which is what classic tragedy is supposed to do. We had a lovely discussion afterwards, a 60 year man and a group of college students. It was refreshing and invigorating! As stated earlier, I do believe that Shakespeare wrote his plays but in the end it doesn't really matter. The important thing is that we do have the plays and, to quote Derek Jacobi at the end, they "shall be remembered as long as words are made of breath and breath of life." For those of you interested in accuracy, check out Michael Wood's 4 hour BBC/PBS special IN SEARCH OF SHAKESPEARE.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring and yeah,
This review is from: Anonymous Bilingual [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)I was very interested in seeing this movie for a long time and was excited to finally watch in on demand, but after 30 minutes the characters and overall plot bored me, not to mention all the characters looked the same and after a while they started to blend together and I couldn't remember who was who. The positives were the visuals and costumes which were terrific and depicted the times of this story without a shadow of a doubt. This is a movie my grandparents would like if they were alive.
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anonymous,
This review is from: Anonymous Bilingual [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)Excellent quality, and the extras were well worth viewing.
The movie has all the qualities of a good drama with excitement and unusual filming techniques. There are some amazing shots using green screen of London how it may have been in the day. Really enjoyed watching this movie at home.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Anonymous Bilingual by Roland Emmerich (DVD - 2012)
CDN$ 14.99 CDN$ 9.83