A movie review that was published in November.
Its finally happened, someone let the Oxfordians write a script. If you aren’t a massive lit nerd like myself (i.e. you’ve gotten laid this year) then you don’t know that there’s a whole group of people who firmly believe Shakespeare didn’t write one play, instead they think the Earl of Oxford was the true playwright. This is the premise upon whichAnonymous is based off of. From the trailers and tagline I assumed the entire movie would be about the conflicts Shakespeare faced being a fake, instead I was pleasantly surprised to see that plot was centered more on the (theorized) drama going on in the Earl of Oxford’s life.
The film makes a bunch of time leaps within the first 15 minutes, which is annoying because it leaves little time to get accustomed to the setting, the multiple characters and political drama, but eventually the pace slows down enough for it to all make sense (unless you’re my grandma, sorry Mimi). Oxford (Rhys Ifans) struggles with playing his role in strict Elizabethan society while hiding his true love: writing. Ifans gives an outstanding performance that I was absolutely floored by (really stepped up since playing the Welsh lodger in Notting Hill). His subtle facial expression and great facial hair really kept me enthralled with the over-the-top stretches the script took with historical facts.
Queen Elizabeth I (Vanessa Redgrave) comes off as a clueless, powerless ruler who relied entirely too much on the Cecil family to keep herself afloat. Shakespeare (Rafe Spall) reminded me of the main character in My Name is Earl, he was more invested in women, ale and money than learning to write. Thankfully the blatant Shakespeare dissing took a backseat to the political drama unfolding between Oxford, the Cecils and Elizabeth. Then there’s this massive bombshell that made even me want to take a shower.
Overall I’d say it was a fantastic movie for anyone who gives a crap about historical drama, Shakespeare or outlandish theories. In an era of movie re-makes I’d say this is a pretty sweet original if you can stomach Elizabethan English for two hours.