Anonymous Movie: provocative and engrossing

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In the same way the movie Amadeus made me want to run out and re-listen to all of Mozart's works, Anonymous made me want to re-read all of Shakespeare.  The structure of the film is brilliant, pulling you back through time and weaving together characters from real life, from bits of Shakespeare's plays, and from the writer's imagination.  (Bonus that Derek Jacobi narrates the intro and end-piece, since I fondly remember his performance in Kenneth Brannagh's Henry V.)

 

At the heart of the story is the mystery of provenance.  Who actually wrote the works credited to Shakespeare? Did he actually exist? If not, then who was the true author?  I'm sure that Shakespeare geeks will chew this over for years, debating the accuracy of the proposed theory, but from an entertainment standpoint, it doesn't matter.  It was engrossing, funny, touching, and thought-provoking.  Vanessa Redgrave's performance as Elizabeth only adds to the depth; she's witty and mercurial.  Director Roland Emmerich is more famous for his "event" movies (Independence Day, Godzilla), but this film shows him fully capable of helming less action-oriented fare.

 

If you're looking to avoid the Adam Sandler movie, this would make an awesome alternative.  We had to seek out an art-house theater to see it, but it was well worth the effort.

 
 
 
 
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