Much Ado About Something (2002)

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Michael Rubbo's sublimely entertaining documentary, MUCH ADO ABOUT SOMETHING, investigates the premise that the plays and sonnets of William Shakespeare were actually written by Christopher Marlowe. Relying on the expert testimony of historians, academics, and others, Rubbo builds his case carefully. He finds a cult-like group of Shakespeare debunkers who worship at the altar of Marlowe. Their proselytizing, corroborated by less biased witnesses, establishes that Marlowe was a brilliant student and a fine dramatist. Then, in the film's most compelling section, Rubbo examines Shakespeare's background, questioning the Bard's capacity to have written the work attributed to him. The film's final act is devoted to a detailed investigation, using reenactments, of Marlowe's murder, which allegedly took place before any of Shakespeare's plays had been written. Rubbo is a skilled provocateur, evidenced by the sly way he puts his questions to his subjects. He cleverly catches the Shakespeare supporters off guard with the information at his command, occasionally leaving them speechless. The filmmaker gets support from an unlikely source when actor Mark Rylance, director of Shakespeare's Globe Theater, acknowledges the virtues of "the Marlowe theory." The film is enjoyable, but the questions it raises are serious and merit further investigation.

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Critic Reviews for Much Ado About Something

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (5)

Talk about your signifying nothing.

Jan 30, 2018 | Full Review…

Has enough wit, energy and geniality to please not only the fanatical adherents on either side, but also people who know nothing about the subject and think they're not interested.

Aug 16, 2002 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

An entertaining documentary that freshly considers arguments the Bard's immortal plays were written by somebody else.

Feb 14, 2002 | Rating: 3/4

...an inviting piece of film.

Feb 13, 2002 | Rating: 3.5/5

Rubbo's humorously tendentious intervention into the who-wrote-Shakespeare controversy.

Feb 12, 2002

This documentary traces with a giddy temperament the search for the "real" Shakespeare.

Jun 21, 2007 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

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