William Shakespeare without his famous plays, sonnets and poems. This film takes a look at the end of his life as he returned back home to Stratford after his Globe Theatre burnt down and he struggles to connect with the family he neglected.
Kenneth Branagh directs Kenneth Branagh as William Shakespeare. With Judi Dench as his wife Anne, throwing in the always brilliant Ian McKellen (although not for very long I am disappointed to say).
The year was 1613 and we must go on the journey with Shakespeare as he tries to rebuild the relationships he lost with his with Anne and two daughters. Susanna who had married and Judith who had not married, Hamnet his son had died many years earlier. He was haunted by this and he eventually had some questions answered around his death.
Just think back to watching the trailer for this film and you will know that it does not look like the most exciting of films. I can confirm the trailer did a fantastic job in preparing everyone for this. Even with a rather short running time of 1 hour and 40 minutes feels easily double that length at times, this film dragged as I expected and hit the boring mark quite a few times.
They had in some visually nice shots of the family house/estate but they don’t really mean anything other than looking decent and a change from the house or garden where most of the scenes take place. All Is True is an alternate title for the play Henry VIII, something we are informed of at the start of the film.
The sexuality of Shakespeare was very briefly addressed in the scene with the Earl of Southampton. But nothing fully confirmed about how the relationship really was. This did make me curious to how much of this film is based on fact or rumours. Or do we have a case where loads was just made up?
Performance wise I cannot fault any of the cast in all honesty and I imagine Branagh has always dreamed of being able to play the Bard himself considering how many Shakespeare productions he has taken part in as an actor and director. The same with Dench and McKellen being part of the film. They still perform on stage with Shakespeare plays to this very day! Something I did love was Hadley Fraser having a nice role in this one in terms of screen time, it seems Branagh is willing to give him parts in his films and I totally adore that. He is an amazing actor I have been lucky enough to see on stage, I really would love to see him in more films.
Even though I felt the film dragged, I guess I cannot really be too disappointed as I was expecting it to be a little bit boring so went in expecting just that. Which I guess means I prepared myself in the best possible way. I will give them the story being different and looking at the scandal from his daughters and longing for a male heir after the death of his son. Hoping he would have a grandson one day.