6.9/10
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Anonymous (2011)

PG-13 | | Drama, Thriller | 28 October 2011 (UK)
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The theory that it was in fact Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford, who penned Shakespeare's plays. Set against the backdrop of the succession of Queen Elizabeth I and the Essex rebellion against her.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Earl of Essex (as Sebastian Reid)
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Paolo De Vita ...
Francesco
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Thomas Dekker
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Thomas Nashe
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Captain Richard Pole
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Storyline

Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford, is presented as the real author of Shakespeare's works. Edward's life is followed through flashbacks from a young child, through to the end of his life. He is portrayed as a child prodigy who writes and performs A Midsummer Night's Dream for a young Elizabeth I. A series of events sees his plays being performed by a frontman, Shakespeare. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Was Shakespeare a Fraud?

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence and sexual content | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

28 October 2011 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Anónimo  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$1,012,768 (USA) (28 October 2011)

Gross:

$4,463,292 (USA) (9 December 2011)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Orloff wrote the script back in 1998, but the project never took off at that time because of the release of the other Shakespeare-related film, Shakespeare in Love (1998). The project was then restarted back in 2005, when Roland Emmerich saw the script, but it only got the go ahead in early 2010 after additional research and revision. See more »

Goofs

The witches from Macbeth are seen performing on stage for a production during Elizabeth's reign. Macbeth was a play written for and when James I was on the English throne. See more »

Quotes

Ben Jonson: You are the soul of the age... Undeniable perfection that plagued my soul.
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Crazy Credits

Apart from the production companies, the only opening credit is the movie's title, displayed on the marquee of the prologue's theater. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Brows Held High: The Devils (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Night of the Long Knives
Written by Byrd & David Hirschfelder (as Hirschfelder)
Performed by David Hirschfelder
Courtesy of The Decca Music Group
Under licence from Universal Music Operations Ltd.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Inventive, Compelling, Emmerich's Masterpiece
26 October 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans) is a talented playwright whose position forces him to publicly abandon his endeavors. He seeks to sign over his plays and sonnets to Ben Johnson (Sebastian Armesto), but that's easier said than done. When William Shakespeare takes credit (Rafe Spall), that's the least of concerns as the words of Edward affect the political climate.

Rhys Ifans is an unrecognizable powerhouse, and though the rest of the cast fairs well, he shines. As does director Roland Emmerich, who uses every trick at his disposal to make a highly sophisticated drama littered with elaborate costumes and set decoration to be admired.

The theatre experience is very well represented in Anonymous, with the narrator barely making the curtain. Believe it or not but this does actually happen and there are actors who specialize in. The workings of the theatre coincide with the events described and eventually merge. In the time of Edward, the Globe is shown with spectacular accuracy and the familiar faces of the troupe appear across plays.

The future of England is put at stake as the insight into Edward's inspiration is penned on a relationship with Queen Elizabeth (Vanessa Redgrave and in younger form Joely Richardson). These secrets showcase the power of words to win over love and country.

Is it cheating to inject stolen verse into a screenplay? To some extent yes. We're talking about a movie that lifts words, then says they came from a thief. A bit of a paradox if anything. Similarly, it would be silly for J.J. Abrams to direct a movie that's filled with scenes from every Steven Spielberg film, yet that happened with Super 8.

If Anonymous has a fault, it would be in jerking around the audience. The movie starts with an inventive use of a framing device, and quite appropriately in a theatre. We go back and Ben Johnson is jailed, only for us to go back 5 years to see him getting jailed. Then we go back another 40 and when we next see Johnson he's being set free. So… in which time is he released? Thankfully Anonymous is long enough to allow an audience to gain bearings.

Anonymous is Emmerich's masterpiece, a radical far from his usual environmental apocalypse works. There could be a stigma surrounding the subject, which will be viewed as blasphemy by many. I'd like to reassure you that most popular cinema is an act of fiction. Shakespeare isn't available to rebut, and most moviegoers are not concerned with historical accuracy so long as the story is compelling and filled with drama, which Anonymous delivers.


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