OK for kids 14+
Uneven drama questions Shakespeare's identity.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that that this period drama set in Elizabethan England questions whether William Shakespeare was truly the author of the plays and poems attributed to his famous quill. The film focuses on several huge deceptions, so there's plenty of lying, manipulation, and scheming -- just about everyone is trying to obscure the truth. There are also some intense torture scenes and a few battles, as well as lots of innuendo and several scenes showing cleavage, glimpses of bare bottoms, and people in bed -- though there's no graphic nudity. Many of the movie's themes are rather adult, including the central literary hoax and the political implications of children born out of wedlock to royal parents.
- Families can talk about Shakespeare. Do you buy the controversial theory that he might not have written his plays? Why do you think such ideas persist?
- What are the movie's messages? What is it saying about honesty? Is it ever OK to lie?
- What would you do if you were forbidden from pursuing the one source of passion in your life? Why was the Earl of Oxford willing to let others take credit for his work?
The good stuff
Messages: In this period drama, honesty is rarely the best policy. Almost all of the characters are lying about something, whether it's to achieve wealth, power, love, or some combination of the three. People are happy to engage in a huge theatrical deception because it's quite lucrative. Others conspire and manipulate people for political reasons.
Role models: The Earl of Oxford will do almost anything to pursue his passion (writing), even letting others take credit for his work just so he can see his plays performed. His passion is impressive, though he ignores his other responsibilities and his own family to pursue his work.
What to watch for
Violence: Several scenes feature swordfights and armed clashes between soldiers, as well as intense torture sequences and an angry mob attempting to storm a castle.
Sex: Love scenes show people embracing, passionately kissing, and lying in bed (during/after simulated sex), both clothed and partially clothed. Implied oral sex, and some sex sounds. Several cleavage shots and both partial and complete views of men's bare bottoms. Lots of innuendo/suggestive talk and discussions of the political impact of children being born out of wedlock. Infidelity and prostitution; references to incest.
Language: "Bollocks," "my God," etc.
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs and smoking: A few scenes show people drinking in pubs and occasionally being drunk.
Fan Reviews provided by
Fictional Fun, Historical Horror by LondonGirl92
Visual feast for the eyes - lovely job in the graphics department. And Rhys Ifans - great acting. As for everything else: Rafe Spall reduced Shakespeare down to Pauly Shore in costume. Regardless of where you come down on the author debate, he did not deserve to be portrayed as a boob. Vanessa Redgrave, who is so talented so it pains me to say this, portrayed the multilingual, politically savvy Elizabeth as no more intelligent than a fourteen year old valley girl (and a slutty one). Cecil comes across as a twisted old man instead of the astute head of a brilliant spy ring and his son amounts to a cretin. The movie plays like a love letter to the Earl of Oxford who, according to this movie, was the only intelligent being among a sea of idiots (which historically can be proven to be complete rubbish). But if you look at this movie as pure fiction, you can relax into a fun costume drama. Pity though, this movie could have been so much better than a forgettable bit of tripe.
Interesting and Entertaining Take on the Shakespeare Authorship Question by blmcole
I'm not a Shakespeare scholar and so probably enjoyed the movie more than those who could see all the holes in this screenwriter's theory and make arguments. For pure entertainment value, I thought it was pretty good. The only thing that was a bit confusing at first was the jumps in the timelines of the characters back and forth. It wasn't too hard to follow once you figured out what time periods the movie was changing to and why. Apart from that, it's a good, entertaining movie, good acting, really nice settings. It was fun to see Shakespeare himself made out to be an illiterate boob. Ben Jonson and Kit Marlowe also make appearances.
If you have a layman's understanding of the controversy surrounding the authorship of work attributed to Shakespeare and like historical drama, you will probably like Anonymous.
Review of Anonymous by RichardAgemo
Set in 16th century London, Anonymous is visually stunning, and worth seeing for that reason alone. I give it 3 stars. The movie revolves around the tumultuous events taking place at the end of Elizabeth I?s reign, incorporating a Shakespeare (who is the earl of Oxford) storyline. Such an approach is an enormous challenge due to the sheer volume of plot elements the story requires. The movie manages to pull it off. However, I wish it would have gotten more about what we know about the earl of Oxford right. For my complete review, go to: ***richardagemo.com.
Anonymous: B by MattH306
Enjoyed the movie as pure fiction.
Pretty and Charmless by drewbach
I'm a sucker for period pieces, even ones that play as fast and loose with facts as this one, but "Anonymous" lacks any of the wit, self-awareness, or remotely likable characters that would make its anachronisms, campy conspiracy theories and inflated sense of seriousness worth-while. There are some fun ideas and some bright spots in the supporting cast, plus a nicely intense and atmospheric sense of court and theater intrigue. But the dialogue is way too bland for a film purporting to be about the power of words to shape the world, and its lack of emotional core renders it instantly forgettable.
Words will Prevail! by CedarvisionPro
I went and saw this film on Sunday and I must say I was very impressed. A good old fashion conspiracy film, filled with drama, lies, betrayals, and romance that only Will Shakespeare could write about. With undertones of a Greek Tragedy or one of Shakespeare's own Romantic Tragedies, Emmerich's Anonymous hooked me from the moment it began. The cast of Anonymous were all amazing. From Vanessa Redgrave's beautifully heartbreaking performance as Queen Elizabeth, to Jamie Campbell Bower's seductive performance as the young Earl of Oxford, the cast brought these characters to life with great ease. Emmerich, though many people may judge him for his previous lackluster films, Anonymous is one of his best films. Unlike his other movies, Anonymous was all about the story and the characters. The non linear storytelling kept the audience intrigued and wanting to uncover the conspiracy and expose the secrets that seem to have spread across England. All in all a great film.
Hard to follow by Jackandson1
Well directed, but it jumped back and forth in time, which made it hard to follow. Not for children. It is useful to learn a bit about the Essex Rebellion or England in Shakespeare's time before seeing the movie so you can understand the framework in which it is placed. it was so well made that I would enjoy watching it a second time. History buffs should really enjoy this.
The acting is great, the cinematography is great, the idea is compelling - so what happened? by irenewds
They could have done much more with this, but mature film fans should see it. I'm a film fan but not knowledgable in the intracies of filmmaking. However, after years of watching the Oscars and seeing people win Best in the field of Film Editing, why do I think the problem is with the editing? Now I finally realize what editing means. The whole movie takes place in Elizabethan times, but there are flashbacks within Elizabethan times. The only time I know we're in the later years is when Queen Elizabeth is old, and the younger years when Queen Elizabeth is young. The rest of the characters are confusing. It took till the middle of this too-long film for me to realize that one of the main older male characters was the same young guy I just saw on the screen 10 minutes ago. The thing that kept me in my seat is that it's such an interesting and important mystery and the film makes you yearn to know more about it. Costume and set design are perfect.
Annymous...... b by Arianna721
First the idea was interesting.. but the movie was jumping around so much .... tooo fast.... and hard to keep up to know what was going on.
it was a bit DARK grey movie.
A must for those who love theater! by SCUD
Great plot and story line. If you love period movies like I do this was one of the best. Very intense at times and a great movie all around. Costume design was captured perfectly. Great movie to see.