Anonymous - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Anonymous Reviews

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February 25, 2014
Excellent movie, one of my favourites both being history and conspiracy. This movie offers you breathtaking visuals as well as an interesting and very controversial theory for those in the liberal arts. Did shakespeare write his plays? To many this question is a no brainer, but he had no substantial education where as edward de vere was highly educated. With that being said this movie was breathtaking filled with all the historical characters you could want (Elizabeth I, the Cecils, Jonson, Marlowe, Shakespeare, De Vere) and though it may make small mistakes at times it more than makes up for it with its excellent and moving dialogue. The movie is filled with moments that grab you and never let go. My top 5 favourite movies.
February 21, 2014
The tagline for this alternative historical drama by Rowland Emmerich reads quite simply "Was Shakespeare A Fraud?" After watching it, one answer is left ringing starkly in the ears of the audience: "Who Cares?"

Having spent the better part of the last fifteen years spreading widespread fear about the destruction of humanity, it could be argued that this is in fact the first attempt in a long time by German Hollywood sooth-sayer to make a film purely for art (as opposed to commercial) purposes.

As the tagline suggests, the whole plot centers around the core premise that the works of Shakespeare were actually the works of dishonored courtier Edward Cecil (Rhys Ifans) who used the medium of theater to exact his own political ambitions against the family to which he was indebted but also despised, all at the expense of one Benjamin Johnson (the man who would inevitably become Britain's first Poet Lauriette) .

The likenesses to several characters from Shakespeare's various plays and supposedly real characters from history is at times a little too stark for my taste. Especially the scene where the young Edward finds a spy in his private chambers which seems to have been lifted straight out of Hamlet. Most telling though is how the Bard himself is portrayed in the film. Gone is the dignified, swan-necked reverence of Joseph Fiennes and in it's place we are presented with a buffoon. The sort of laughable dimwitted charlatan which could be likened to Roderigo from Othello.

Emmerich's attempt at reducing the greatest literary mind of the Early Modern era to some an opportunistic, fraudulent thespian who achieved fame for Cecil's labor purely because he possessed the ambition to seize it, is a bold statement to be sure but it can never dilute the feelings of blasphemy (regardless of it's subtle delivery). Similarly the other playwrights are treated with the same brazen disrespect, especially Christopher Marlowe who, though offered his own level of dignity by Tom Stoppard, is reduced in John Orloff's script the role of a snooty and obnoxious gnit-picker.

Predictably, the best performances come from David Thewlis and Derek Jacobi (whose narrator is tragically denied any real screen time other than to bookend the beginning and epilogue). Thewlis is his usual stern best as the patriarchal elder Cecil, often outshining the often by-the-numbers performance of Ifans. An honorable mention should also be given to Julie Christie as the young Queen Elizabeth, even though at times she simply feels like a composite of Cate Blanchett and Gwynneth Paltrow.

So what to make of this somewhat mixed up take on one of Britain's great historical conspiracies? As a period drama about sedition during the Elizabethan Golden Age, or as a classical tragedy, it is quite satisfactory. As an exploration into the works of Shakespeare not so much. As mentioned at the beginning of this review, Anonymous as a film disproves it's own relevance by simply offering a single abstract answer. It was a valiant effort by Rowland Emmerich to try and change his formula to strive more toward and ethical subject than one of doom and gloom. However, as the first paragraph clearly observes about the subject matter, by the time the final credits roll on Anonymous one is left with only one thought in mind; "Who Cares?"
February 18, 2014
Meandering story that is hard to follow unless you are a historian or decide to take a Wikipedia break to look up some of the key characters/events.

The play-within-a-play framing device feels a bit clumsy, even if Derek Jacobi is a pleasure to hear. The portrayal of the queen was disappointing, not in terms of the acting, but in terms of the caricature: jealous, whimsical, somewhat scatterbrained, tool of her councillors, more in thrall to her sexual interests than her senses. All the other females were quite one-dimensional. Meanwhile, there were also some strange allusions to some of the men's possible homosexuality, but this was not explored (in which case, why play with the idea?).

All in all, disappointing.
February 15, 2014
I am impressed by many reasons but , most of all, with the fact this movie is so underrated may be it historically accurate or not. This movie is gorgeous in more ways than one, with solid acting by Rhys Ifans and Vanessa Redgrave and the reason people seem to dislike it so much is because it offers an answer to the long lasting conumdrum of Shakespeare´s authorship. This movie was much more interesting than the Oscar-awarded " Shakespeare in Love"
January 26, 2014
A Dark, Slow, Murky, overlong film with a weak script that is sure to bore audiences while it tries to convice them with a less convincing theory.
½ January 25, 2014
Doesn't get off to the best start but once the political intrigue gets into full swing the story becomes totally engrossing.
January 20, 2014
The more it tries to make you believe in it's half baked theories the more fake it comes off. It's just a crappy unentertaining film.
½ January 2, 2014
While it's good to see Roland Emmerich moving away from his one trick pony disaster films, "Anonymous'" overstuffed plot is only saved by stunning visuals and superb acting. However, if you can look past the baseless conspiracies, the film becomes quite enjoyable.
½ December 31, 2013
It might be a load of historical hooey, but it's a well-made load of historical hooey. Bonus points for casting the great Mark Rylance as a member of Shakespeare's theater troupe.
½ November 27, 2013
When I saw this one I was kind of depress. It has a lot of dialogue, that I wish I could understand more. Pretty confusing at first but then turn the pieces together and it made sense. Great cast and loved the acting, but in a way it lacks it's purpose to watch it again, but yeah it has a good well all around ending. So for this being a nice Shakespeare story but not quite as good, I give "Anonymous" a C-.
November 19, 2013
Great film, don't understand the bad reviews. I can say this movie isn't for everyone.
½ November 19, 2013
The way I see it, this was more of a celebratory intent than just a conspiracy theory it was seemingly known for.
½ November 18, 2013
The hacktivist group is more legitimate than this. I'm actually a big supporter of Anonymous, though...
November 16, 2013
An interesting version of who Shakespeare really was.
½ October 20, 2013
A revisionist period piece set against a backdrop of English intrigue and political manoeuvring as Roland Emmerich tries to convince the audience that Shakespeare was not the author of his plays but a 'jerk' actor who was in the right place at the right time. Some of this ground has been covered in the more serious 'Elizabeth' as well as the more entertaining 'Shakespeare in Love' and although everyone gives it their best shot (CGI perfected in Emmerich's '2012' & 'Independence Day' creates an authentic medieval London) the whole thing falls flat from its ludicrous assertions and tiring dialogue. Despite great costumes, there is no need to worry about Billy Wobblestick's reputation just yet if this is the best evidence on offer in this rather dull film of the bored bard on the big screen. 5/10 Midlands Movies Mike
October 12, 2013
Ifans is convincingly world-weary as the earl who prefers writing sonnets to the pageantry of court life. Anonymous aims to be epic but is closer to stately soap opera. Anonymous is fun - if you take the anti-Shakespearean tale as events set in an unreal, alternate universe. Anonymous starts admirably quickly, but Emmerich repeatedly forgets to look over his shoulder to see if his audience is keeping track of which stringy-haired Calvin Klein model is which. The film as a whole isn't quite as interesting, though it is noteworthy that action specialist Emmerich has clearly decided to change course here from anything he's previously made. Although this is primarily a writer's film, with John Orloff's screenplay (and dialogue) placed front and center, Anonymous surprises with how classical, staid and traditional Emmerich's mise-en-scene is, never straying from tried-and-true costumer standards. Anonymous is well-paced and never threatens to bore or become too scholarly.

VERDICT: "In The Zone" - [Mixed Reaction] These kinds of movies are usually movies that had some good things, but some bad things kept it from being amazing. This rating says buy an ex-rental or a cheap price of the DVD to own. If you consider cinema, ask for people's opinion on the film... (Films that are rated 2.5 or 3 stars)
½ October 7, 2013
So Shakespeare was a fraud??
October 6, 2013
Good entertaining fictional historic movie. Just don't try to chew on whether the history is true or not but enjoy the plot.
October 2, 2013
Edgy and boooooring.
September 20, 2013
I expected so much more after watching the trailer.
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