And all the men and women merely players;”
(Jaques, II. vii. 139-140, from As You Like It by William Shakespeare)
The new film ANONYMOUS may define the quote above. The story suggests that William Shakespeare is not the author of his plays, sonnets, or poems. Instead Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford (played by Rhys Ifans) is the true scribe.
Since being a writer embarrasses the family, de Vere chooses someone to name as an originator of his work. Initially he selects writer Ben Jonson (played by Sebastian Armesto), but Jonson has too much integrity to participate in such an exercise. Jonson expresses this to his actor friend, William Shakespeare (played by Rafe Spall), who publicly clings to the idea of being a clever playwright. As a result, de Vere’s only option is to write that each work is penned by “William Shakespeare.” This is the plot of ANONYMOUS.
In the film Shakespeare is referred to as an illiterate. One character even says he cannot spell. On the contrary, the real William Shakespeare is known as brilliant and one of the best writers of all time. As someone who has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with an emphasis in literature and teaches the subject, Shakespeare is esteemed as the genuine author of his works. However, one can read miles of research on the subject in books and on the Internet to develop a foothold on the matter.
ANONYMOUS is excellent filmmaking. The story, a political thriller, is very fast paced in the beginning with short scenes, and as the tale unfolds the scenes become longer. The film has superior direction, acting, cinematography, and costumes. It also includes an intriguing storyline about the succession of Queen Elizabeth I and the Essex Rebellion against her.
ANONYMOUS is currently in theatres. To learn more about the film visit http://www.anonymous-movie.com/.