December 2011

Presented By:
Columbia Pictures

Run Time 130.0

From the official website for the film comes this synopsis: experts have debated, books have been written, and scholars have devoted their lives to protecting or debunking theories surrounding the authorship of the most renowned works in English literature. Anonymous poses one possible answer, focusing on a time when scandalous political intrigue, illicit romances in the Royal Court, and the schemes of greedy nobles lusting for the power of the throne were brought to light in the most unlikely of places: the London stage.

This film should get much more attention than it is likely to receive. Whether you subscribe to the theory or not, this version of the story is quite entertaining, including scenes featuring sword fighting, lovemaking, drinking, treachery, and murder. Oh yes, there are also scenes from some of Shakespeare’s plays which parallel the action going on in the film. And playing the roles of these debauched, plotting, heroic characters is a phenomenal list of actors, including Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave, Joely Richardson, David Thewlis, Jamie Campbell Bower, Rafe Spall, and Xavier Samuel.

The reasons I don’t think Anonymous will be seen by as wide an audience as it should, is that it is a period drama about William Shakespeare. The reasons I think this film should be seen are good costumes, good sets, good acting (for the most part), and a plausible and interesting story with a few good plot twists.

Reviewer: Michael Black, FIDM Museum Coordinator