Anonymous

Anonymous

Set in the political snake-pit of Elizabethan England, ANONYMOUS speculates on an issue that has for centuries intrigued academics and brilliant minds such as Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and Sigmund Freud, namely: who actually created the body of work credited to William Shakespeare? Experts have debated, books have been written, and scholars have devoted their lives to protecting or debunking theories surrounding the authorship of the most renowned works in English literature. ANONYMOUS poses one possible answer, focusing on a time when scandalous political intrigue, illicit romances in the Royal Court, and the schemes of greedy nobles lusting for the power of the throne were brought to light in the most unlikely of places: the London stage. 2.5 out of 5 based on 16 reviews
Anonymous

Omniscore:

Certificate
Genre Drama
Director Roland Emmerich
Cast Vanessa Redgrave, David Thewlis, Rafe Spall Rhys Ifans
Studio Sony Pictures
Release Date October 2011
Running Time
 

Set in the political snake-pit of Elizabethan England, ANONYMOUS speculates on an issue that has for centuries intrigued academics and brilliant minds such as Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and Sigmund Freud, namely: who actually created the body of work credited to William Shakespeare? Experts have debated, books have been written, and scholars have devoted their lives to protecting or debunking theories surrounding the authorship of the most renowned works in English literature. ANONYMOUS poses one possible answer, focusing on a time when scandalous political intrigue, illicit romances in the Royal Court, and the schemes of greedy nobles lusting for the power of the throne were brought to light in the most unlikely of places: the London stage.

Reviews

The Los Angeles Times

Betsy Sharkey

William Shakespeare — whoever he was — I think would probably be at least a little amused by "Anonymous." For amusing it is — along with bawdy, brazen, politically outrageous, plausible enough and occasionally graced with something close to Shakespearean cleverness in an absurdist sort of way.

28/10/2011

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The Daily Telegraph

Robbie Collin

Anonymous might be riper than a month-old plum, but it’s every bit as juicy.

27/10/2011

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Channel 4 Film

Catherine Bray

As the film would have it, the Earl Of Oxford's legacy ought to have been a son with a good claim to the throne of England, plus a body of literature with a good claim to be the finest ever written. That he's denied both should be heartbreaking, but in truth the film is too much of a romp, and tries to cram too much in, to really reach us on that level.

30/10/2011

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Time Out

Tom Huddleston

Keen insight and rapier-like subtlety are not Emmerich’s strong suits, so instead he has chosen the path of pure excess: bodices are ripped, swords unsheathed, moustachioes waxed, pantaloons tightened and scenery chewed; every villain wears a dastardly leer and every hero a proud glint.

27/10/2011

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The Times

Wendy Ide

Emmerich’s approach to this revisionist history — part soap opera, part pantomime — together with the story itself is almost guaranteed to enrage a sizeable portion of the British audience. And yet there is no question that this is the director’s most engaging and accomplished work in a long time.

26/10/2011

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The New York Times

A. O Scott

[It's ]a vulgar prank on the English literary tradition, a travesty of British history and a brutal insult to the human imagination. Apart from that, it’s not bad.

27/10/2011

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The Evening Standard

Derek Malcolm

It is achieved with commendable zeal - even if, by the end, you wish Emmerich had left Will well alone.

28/10/2011

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The Guardian

Peter Bradshaw

By the end, it looks as if Dan Brown has been allowed to smoke crack in a secret room in Anne Hathaway's cottage. Yet it's no sillier than the pious Shakespeare in Love.

27/10/2011

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Time Magazine

Mary Pols

The movie doesn’t just ask us to throw out all we thought we knew about Shakespeare ... Emmerich has glommed onto a theory that is both snobbish — stripping Shakespeare’s creative powers because he was a commoner — and sexist, turning Elizabeth into a cute ninny who just likes to watch plays and worry about the state of her teeth.

26/10/2011

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The Scotsman

Alistair Harkness

Saddled with an exposition-heavy script that attempts to link the struggle to find a successor to Elizabeth I with a conspiracy to cover up the authorship of the plays, the film makes a hash of ripe material that should play to the masses.

28/10/2011

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The Independent

Geoffrey MacNab

Imagine Blackadder made on an epic scale but strained of most of the humour, and you'll come close to [the film's] essence.

28/10/2011

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The Financial Times

Antonia Quirke

The whole movie is amusingly camp and impudent – its zest feels genuine – although ultimately nonsensical.

28/10/2011

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Empire Magazine

Phil de Semlyn

While the story works, the tone and performances are completely mismatched. Ifans suffers elegantly, but Spall is apparently in a bawdy romp and Vanessa Redgrave is looking for scenery to devour.

24/10/2011

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The Daily Mail

Chris Tookey

It is horribly apparent that the film-makers have less knowledge of Shakespeare’s verse and Elizabethan history than many literate 13-year-olds.

27/10/2011

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The Sunday Times

Edward Porter

This pointless movie goes beyond a conspiracy theory into an alternative reality.

30/10/2011

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The Observer

Philip French

The American screenwriter John Orloff may have wished for a muse of fire, but unfortunately he's been given an ear of cloth, and his film would hardly pass muster as a sixth-form end-of-term romp.

30/10/2011

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