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
When a reporter on National Public Radio pointed out to screenwriter John Orloff that this movie is full of historical inaccuracies (for instance, the playwright Christopher Marlowe, who appears as a character in this movie, actually was dead by the time these events supposedly "took place"), he responded that he wrote these inaccuracies into the screenplay deliberately as an homage to the way that Shakespeare himself took dramatic liberties in his history plays. See more »
The playwrights in the movie are all astonished that Romeo and Juliet is written in verse, specifically iambic pentameter. In fact, English drama had been written in verse for hundreds of years, and mostly in iambic pentameter for about the previous 25 years. Prose drama, not poetry, was the innovation. See more »
You are the soul of the age... Undeniable perfection that plagued my soul.
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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 »
Greetings again from the darkness. While it is clear that writer John Orloff and director Roland Emmerich believe that Edward De Vere, The Earl of Oxford, and not Will Shakespeare, wrote the infamous and iconic plays we have celebrated for 400 years, my advice is to watch this as a Hollywood movie and not a docu-drama. Hollywood is at its best when exaggerating, twisting and dramatizing historic events and figures.
You may be an expert on Shakespeare and even Elizabethan history, but whether you are or whether you are not, my guess is that you will find this to be interesting and thought-provoking. You may agree with the idea that Shakespeare was not the prolific and talented author, but this movie provides one possible alternative ... with no scientific proof or actual documentation. We see Rhys Ifans and Jamie Campbell Bower portray Edward De Vere as the older and younger version respectively. Both capture his passion for writing and frustration at being unable to live the life for which he was born.
Vanessa Redgrave and her real life daughter Joely Richardson portray Queen Elizabeth at the older and younger stages, and we certainly get a distinctive impression of how "the Virgin Queen" may have been mis-labeled as much as any figure in history. Many lovers and illegitimate children are mentioned and the web of secrecy would have been exhausting, given the other responsibilities of her position.
Rafe Spall portrays Will Shakespeare as what one might call The Village Idiot. The buffoonery we see from this man is an extreme that weakens the case for De Vere, rather than strengthen it. Though talented writer Ben Jonson (Sebastian Armesto) was De Vere's first choice, the lack of morals by the illiterate actor Shakespeare allows him to seize a capitalistic opportunity and soak up the audience love.
The best part of the film is the realistic look and feel of the streets, the Globe Theater and costumes. Rhys Ifans is exceptional in the role of De Vere, and the story itself plays out much like one of Shakespeare's plays. The downside is, I believe most will find the multitude of characters and time-lines and sub-plots to be quite confusing at times. Don't take a bathroom break or you'll miss new babies being born and upheavals being planned.
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