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Have you ever wondered why some critics review films? They don't even seem to like movies that much from what they write. I LOVE movies, and think about them long after the last credits roll across the screen. My reviews are meant to inform, entertain and never have a spoiler.
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Tuesday, May 21, 2019


I am not a Shakespeare groupie, such as those who make a pilgrimage to Ashland, Oregon every year for Shakespeare plays and others! But I have attended a few live performances, and then there’s the classic Romeo and Juliet I watched on-screen as a freshman in high school (the one with Leonard Whiting, not Leonardo DiCaprio). My favorite Shakespeare play is Twelfth Night, and I of course loved the film Shakespeare in Love.

Now comes this interesting 2011 film Anonymous that suggests that Will Shakespeare was not the person we think he was. How far fetched is it that someone else actually penned all those plays and sonnets, and because of social standing could not come forward to claim them as his own? This film presents an alternative to who the bard really was. Anonymous is rated PG-13 for some violence and sexual content.

The time is England, the Queen is Victoria. Not as Victorian as that era has often been made out to be, she was quite the scandalous hotheaded woman with an appetite for lovers and the stage.

Edward De Vere (Rhys Ifans), the Earl of Oxford, is of noble birth, well educated and good at everything he attempts. He has a passion for writing, but the noble class frowns upon this activity. Poets and dreamers are not held in high regard; warriors and knights are the heroes of the day.

Ben Jonson (Sebastian Armesto) becomes Edward’s accomplice, staging the plays he pens at The Rose, as Edward needs to remain anonymous to protect himself from being found out by his peers. Jonson was to take the credit for the plays, but when the time comes, an actor, Will Shakespeare (Rafe Spall), steps forward claiming the play as his own, and thus the ruse is born.

I liked this film. It really didn’t seem that far fetched. They claim that Shakespeare was not well educated, and did not have the opportunities for travel and study that Edward De Vere would have had. The story in Anonymous seems plausible to me.

But who is to know? This is the late 1500’s/early 1600’s after all. History in this film anyway, makes a good case for the true author of comedies and tragedies for the stage to be Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford.

Have you seen Anonymous? What do you think? Is William Shakespeare the real author or someone else?


  1. Sorry, but when they claim everyone but Shakespeare wrote his plays, I get skeptical. I think it was Sir Francis Bacon who was supposed to be the author at one stage. Who next? I’m happy to accept that a country boy from Stratford could write.

    Have you seen the new film, All Is True? A wonderful film, if a bit slow moving. Shakespeare goes home after losing the Globe. He decides to take to gardening, in memory of his little boy Hamnet. In one scene a young fan turns up in his garden - Shakespeare wearily answers all the usual fan questions before he can say anything - and asks exactly this, how did you get all that geography so right when you’ve never travelled, and wants to know how someone with so little education could do all this. He is a fan, he just wants to know. It was a lovely scene.

    Also recommended if you haven’t seen it, the TV series Upstart Crow, written by Ben Elton, who also wrote this film. The story of Shakespeare as a sitcom, very funny, but also touching.

    1. Thanks for the recommendations! Who is to know the truth of a bygone era? It is fun to speculate and Anonymous was a very well done movie. I'm definitely going to look for All is True.

  2. I have heard these rumours but I feel like whoever has the knack loves to stir things up and claim the person didn’t do such and such or whatever instead of just stating it was as we always thought. Now, that being said, I have not seen this film but have wanted to. So many films to see

    1. It is an engaging and entertaining film. I looked up the controversy on Wikipedia while I was writing this review, and was surprised about all the research done in an attempt to know the truth of Shakespeare. Really kind of fascinates me.

  3. I went to the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon years ago while in high school. The drama class I attended joined with an English Lit class and made an excursion there. The shows were fantastic.

    "Anonymous" sounds interesting. Thanks for your review!

    1. Ashland is a great place to visit. The performances are outstanding. I've enjoyed my visits there too. Thanks for the comment!