April 23rd was the birth and death date of the most celebrated writer in history…William Shakespeare. Like most of the folks that will read this, I knew very little of the man who wrote such classic tales as The Taming of the Shew, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet until screening All is True.
Written by Ben Elton and Directed, Produced, directed and starring Kenneth Branagh, we learn that Shakespeare married a woman many years his elder, had twins (Judith and Hamnet – who we can surmise the name Hamlet came from), he loves to garden but is terrible at it and supposedly has a huge crush on The Earl of South Hampton (Ian McClellan – to whom Shakespeare professes his love only to be rejected in his own home).
The year is 1613, when the tragedy of the great William Shakespeare’s only son dies , he stops writing. In addition, disaster strikes when his renowned Globe Theatre burns to the ground. Devastated, Shakespeare returns to Stratford, where he must face a troubled past and neglected family. For years he believes his only son was the only one of his three children to have his enormous gift of language. It is in the midst of his grief, the truth is revealed and Williams must sort out his feelings making some hard pressed decisions and acknowledging his own shortcomings.
Branagh and Dench are electric on-screen especially in a scene where sonnets are being discussed, and Anne (Judi Dench) remarks that William was always so worried about his reputation. It appears that it never occurred to him one time to ask if her reputation had ever been considered. This was a woman who was illiterate and spent years abandoned by her husband for the sake of his art. At the end of the day Shakespeare is left wondering if he can’t forgive himself, how does he expect God to forgive him.
Beautifully shot by Zac Nicholson and produced by Sony Pictures Classic, All is True is a delightful, illuminating and heartfelt journey into one of our most genius literary minds and rolls into theaters TODAY!!!