All Is True (2018) Poster

(2018)

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Pensive, Poignant, Satisfying
Tail_End_Charlie9 January 2019
I appreciated this thoughtful film, and Branagh did a marvelous job helming it while also portraying Shakespeare. Another reviewer scoffed at the historical inaccuracy due to the real-life age difference between Branagh and Dench. This chronology was not distracting to me, because both actors gave convincing portrayals. Costumes and set design were outstanding. The gorgeous English countryside stood in as another character, of sorts. During the pre-release screening (USA), the director revealed a fascinating fact: several of the interior scenes were lit by candles, absent of any set lights. I was taken by Branagh's passionate and studied approach to Shakespeare, and this film is a fine example.
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9/10
just beautiful
Kirpianuscus30 August 2019
First, its special beauty has as source the status of hommage to William Shakespeare by Kenneth Branagh. If you do not ignore the great adaptations of the plays by Branagh, you understand why "All Is True" is a real special film. Second - for splendid photography . And for magnificent portrait of Anne Hathaway by Dame Judy Dench. And for the moments when the Shakespeare resemblance becomes almost...magic. And the music, off course. And the delicate use of themes.

Sins ? For me , it seems too...didactic. You know the life, you know the plays, you do not forget the verses. And you need a Shakespeare alive, of small gestures, not a package of explanations. I feel the meetings with the Earl of Southampton and Ben Jonson not real inspired used. Cliches, again and again, parts of lessons and something who you know deserves be better.

But, I admitt, I love it. For beauty, with so many faces and sources. And, off course, for "sins". And my old admiration for Kenneth Brannagh is more significant at the end of this film.
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10/10
Beautiful, sad, patient... an almost perfect film.
roaming_charges_may_apply27 December 2018
It has been years since a Kenneth Branagh film made me feel something in the way this does. His Hollywood success has also been accompanied by a change in directorial style and a change in his focus on storytelling ... but this film returns to what made him so great early on ... a passion for the subject material. The end result is a period film that feels actually of the period, while also fully modern. Every frame of film is like a historical painting. And the story and characters are fully expressed. Slow, patient, sad, and beautiful - this is a wonderful film with wonderful writing, acting and directing. The pacing and editing is deliberate. What some critics have considered to be slow or meandering I would call the story taking it's time and earning it's value. Highly recommended.
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9/10
Beautiful and moving.
dsingerman9 February 2019
This was beautiful in many ways. Lovely photography and music by Patrick Doyle. Well acted of course by Kenneth Branagh and Judy Dench. A very nice screenplay by Ben Elton who is more famous for his comedy writing. He also wrote the wonderful TV series "Upstart Crow" which is a funny view of Shakespeare. This film is much more serious. I don't understand why this film has such a low IMDB rating.
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8/10
Beautifully shot.
ben-8488413 August 2019
A stunning slow paced beautifully shot movie. Ignore the bad reviews, take a breathe and enjoy the pace.
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6/10
A strangely formless and insubstantial love-letter to Shakespeare
Bertaut21 February 2019
Directed, produced by, and starring Kenneth Branagh, All Is True is a pleasant enough film obviously born from great reverence, and, unsurprisingly, brilliantly acted, but is also a curiously formless piece of work, clumsily episodic in structure, and relatively free of conflict, focusing instead on non-incident and trees silhouetted against picturesque sunsets. By the very nature of the years during which it takes place (1613-1616), Ben Elton's screenplay is full of interpolations and suppositions, some of which are interesting, but many of which don't work. There's a much better film hidden in the contours of All Is True, a darker story examining Shakespeare's psychology; his inability to process the death of his son Hamnet, his guilt over the fact that he put his career ahead of his family, his possible misogyny, his obsession with his legacy. These issues are in the background, but they are not the focus, and whilst All Is True is perfectly fine, it's also perfectly forgettable.

Possibly a palette-cleanser for Branagh, allowing him to return to the familiarity of Shakespeare, after several years working on relatively impersonal projects, and with two blockbusters on the way, All Is True begins on June 29, 1613, as Shakespeare (Branagh) watches the Globe Theatre burn to the ground, after a canon misfired during a performance of All Is True. Devastated, Shakespeare retires and returns home to Stratford. Coldly received by his wife Anne (Judi Dench) and youngest daughter, Judith (a superb Kathryn Wilder), he gets a slightly better welcome from his eldest, Susanna (Lydia Wilson). Still mourning the death of Judith's twin, Hamnet (Sam Ellis), his only son, who died from plague aged 11 in 1596, Shakespeare decides to grow a garden to honour his memory. However, he must also try to deal with Judith's hatred for him, stemming from her conviction that he believes the wrong twin died.

The first thing to note about All Is True is how full of references it is to both Shakespeare's plays and incidents (or rumoured incidents) from his life. The idea that Shakespeare retired after the Globe fire is not original to the film, but was first hypothesised by Nicholas Rowe in 1709. Also, as the film shows, when a local man named John Lane (Sean Foley) accused Susanna of adultery, she and her puritan husband John Hall (Hadley Fraser) sued for slander. Also true is that in 1616, shortly after he married Judith, Thomas Quiney (Jack Colgrave Hirst) was charged with "carnal copulation". Admitting to the charge, he was fined five shillings, and Shakespeare altered his will so as to safeguard Judith's entitlements. A third example is a running joke concerning the matrimonial bed. When Shakespeare returns to Stratford, Anne sees him more as a guest, and so assigns him the best bed, as was customary for visitors, whilst she takes the second-best bed. Over the course of the film, he continually tries to work his way back into her good graces (i.e. back into her bed). Famously, Shakespeare left Anne "my second best bed" in his will, something which has caused debate amongst scholars.

Elsewhere, there are references to Titus Andronicus (Shakespeare scares Lane from testifying against Susanna by threatening to tell the Moorish actor who played Aaron, and who is in love with Susanna, about Lane's accusations); The Merry Wives of Windsor (the composition of which Anne points out was what Shakespeare did to avoid dealing with the death of Hamnet); Macbeth ("I once uprooted an entire wood and moved it across a stage to Dunsinane"); The Winter's Tale (Shakespeare mentions that Ben Jonson "laughs at me because I speak no Greek and don't care whether Bohemia has a coast"); the legend that Shakespeare was caught poaching deer from Thomas Lucy's land (during an argument, Shakespeare tells Lucy, "I wish I had poached your bloody deer" - although, in reality, Lucy died in 1600); Robert Greene's contemptuous reference to Shakespeare as, amongst other things, an "upstart crow"; and Richard Burbage ("a brilliant lunatic actor"). I'm also fairly sure Branagh quotes himself at one point; arriving back at Stratford, a shot from inside the Shakespeare house shows the door opening and Shakespeare standing in the doorway, heavily silhouetted against the light, which is exactly how we first see Henry in Branagh's Henry V (1989).

A critical scene, and easily the best in the film, involves Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton (Ian McKellen) visiting Stratford. Discussing his identity as the "fair youth" to whom Shakespeare addresses the first 126 sonnets, Southampton points out, "it was only flattery of course". When Shakespeare responds, "except, I spoke from deep within my heart", Southampton dismisses him, "well, I was younger then. Younger and prettier". Shakespeare then quotes in its entirety Sonnet 29, with Branagh reading it as an agonised ode to an impossible love. He then alludes to the fact he'd always hoped Southampton may have one day reciprocated his love, to which Southampton reacts sternly, telling him, "you forget yourself, Will, it is not your place to love me". Getting up to leave, Southampton then also recites Sonnet 29, with McKellen's intonation changing it into a celebration of the power of art to transcend such foolish distractions as love. It's a beautifully shot, incredibly well acted, and nuanced scene that, if it accomplishes nothing, serves to remind us just what talented actors can do when reciting the exact same text.

One of the film's main themes is, of course, family, with Elton's script focusing on how resentful Anne and especially Judith have become of Shakespeare. We don't know a great deal about the real Judith, so much of Elton's characterisation is speculative. The film's Judith is essentially a protofeminist, a brilliant, complex, and acerbic woman railing against the narrow-minded patriarchy her father endorses. The likelihood of this being the case is slim at best, but Wilder is excellent in the part and makes Judith much more believable than the character has any right to be. Where Elton is more successful, and on firmer factual ground, is that Shakespeare's interest in his daughters' marriages revolves primarily (if not exclusively) around whether they can give him male grandchildren, now that Hamnet can't carry on the family name. The film acknowledges that Shakespeare was a neglectful father and husband, and never fully gets behind him as he defends himself by citing the cultivation of his genius, pointing out that his talents made the family very wealthy, and thus he should be excused. However, by the end, even he doesn't believe this himself, coming to understand the price his family paid for his greatness.

However, there are some considerable problems. First and foremost is the script, which has a strangely formless structure, derived from an extremely episodic organisational principal, with scene after scene addressing one and only one issue at a time, ensuring each issue is cleared before moving onto the next. Scenes often involve the characters saying only what is necessary to get to the next scene, with little room to breathe, almost as if we're watching a "previously on" montage of a TV show. Because of this, when we do get scenes that are given a bit of time, such as the Southampton scene, they stick out, stylistically detached from the surrounding material.

Another issue with the script is its use of 21st-century gender politics. The question the film raises is an interesting one - was Shakespeare so ensconced in patriarchal thinking that the lack of a male heir blinded him to the fact that one of his daughters may have had the ability to carry on his poetic legacy, if not his name. With every woman around Shakespeare a protofeminist, each of them more progressive (in the modern sense of the term) than him, the film builds to the moment when he comes to see they were right all along, scolding himself for his short-sightedness and boldly embracing the idea of gender equality. It's a poor attempt to graft contemporary ideology onto an epoch that simply had different beliefs. It's one thing to say Shakespeare may have been in been in favour of the female parts being played by women. It's one thing to say that The Taming of the Shrew may have been written to satirise and mock misogynistic attitudes rather than endorse them. It's something else entirely to say that Shakespeare, by the end of his life, was a feminist, and would eagerly have burnt his bra.

The casting is also problematic. Now, don't get me wrong, I love Dench and McKellen as much as the next man, but that doesn't change the fact that they are both badly miscast. Both play their characters as elderly, but in 1613-1616, Anne (played by the 84-year-old Dench) was 57-60, and Southampton (played by the 79-year-old McKellen) was only 40-43. Additionally, Anne was six years older than Shakespeare, but Dench is 26 years older than Branagh, and it shows, serving only to distract from the content.

As a Kenneth Branagh fan (and a fan of Ben Elton's wonderfully irreverent comedy Upstart Crow (2016)), I was disappointed with All Is True. Equal parts sullen and playful, Branagh's Shakespeare is both an extraordinary genius, not of the ilk of everyday mundanity, and a man who lives in the world and must deal with its absurdities. The film tries to strike a balance between a laid-back and wistful story about a retired writer, and a study of filial grief, with the dawning realisation that much of that grief could have been avoided. Some elements unquestionably work; the Southampton scene, Shakespeare's struggle to reconcile his genius with the personal cost of that genius for both himself and others, Judith's resentment of Hamnet. But a lot doesn't work. It's an inoffensive and perfectly fine film, but given the director and the subject, it could, and should, have been so much better.
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10/10
Wonderful, Moving and Beautiful
JackMassa14 June 2019
Superb acting (of course). Exquisitely beautiful cinematography and design values. (The lighting is perfect - candles or daylight at the tall windows.)

I also thought the script was excellent--deep, true, meaningful. I find it hilarious that so much of the negative reviews of this film focus on "historical inaccuracies" or "anachronistic sexual politics." Wasn't there once a great writer who modified the facts in his historical writings to make the stories dramatically powerful and appealing to a contemporary audience? Who was that? Oh, yeah. SHAKESPEARE!
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10/10
An excellent film
john-longstaff-261-67040014 February 2019
Great acting, script, photography, music, atmosphere. I was moved to tears on several occasions. I laughed out loud many times. I doubted Ben Elton's capacity to sustain quality writing for a complete film but...he does it here. If there is a finer film than this in 2019 I hope I get to see it. Maybe I'm a simple soul and easy to please (oh no I'm not!) but I can't understand the 6 and 1 out of ten. Clearly more intellectual and demanding than me. The Swan of Sheffield
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8/10
Such things that dreams are made of.
Phillipsreviewing14 February 2019
Powerful, justified and brilliant. Shakespeare is brought to life as the fragile genius you read in his work. Passionately displayed and full of mischief. However, had potential to be slow at times.
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10/10
If you love gorgeous, relaxededly paced period films
fiachnaprayingmantis9 February 2019
I don't understand all the hate!

This film was a beautiful, low key escape to a time and place, green, lucious & less sensationalised.

For what is was, it couldn't be better.
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9/10
Not for the literalists
bobbymeizer-8256116 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I quite understand a lot of the criticism of those who dislike this film. To a public fed on fast-paced editing, frenetic camera movement, and constant plot development, this is bound to seem like a ponderous waste of time. But for those with the patience and wit to understand and appreciate, it is a delight. The criticism that seems nonsensical to me is that of all the literalists and historicists who are appalled that the film takes liberties with a few known details of Shakespeare's life. Did they miss the key scene when the young would-be writer comes to ask the Bard of Avon, among other things, how he could, without an Oxbridge education or experience of court or travel on the Continent, manage to convey so artfully and with such wisdom the affairs of high politics? The answer with which Branagh supplies his Shakespeare is also a direct answer to all the aristocrat-loving snobs who can't imagine that a middle-class countryman like WS could have written all these wonderful plays (though apparently they can easily imagine a high-born aristocrat who is widely conversant with the ways of the poor and middle-class); Branagh's Shakespeare's answer is simple: a man of genius with a decent-for-the-time education, of wide-ranging reading, and deep conversation with people of all stations, can with his knowledge of human behavior and the use of his creative IMAGINATION turn out the kind of plays that still speak to us across the centuries. Imagination is also the key to Branagh's depiction of the last days of Shakespeare, about which we actually know next to nothing. The acting in this film is superb, the script intelligent and moving, the cinematography gorgeous. The only reason I can't rate this movie a 10 are the few directorial cliches (why the slo-mo running?) in an otherwise excellent cinematic experience.
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6/10
Shakespeare's sunset.
louiseculmer8 February 2019
A rather melancholy account of Shakespeare's declining years in Stratford, though there are a few more cheerful moments to lighten the gloom. Shakespeare comes home to stay after having been mostly absent in London for the past twenty years, still brooding over the death of his son Hamnet, and is given a moderate welcome by his wife Anne (the ever reliable Judi Dench) and his two daughters. There are some amusing references to the 'second best bed' (which Shakespeare famously left his wife in his will) and a rather unlikely plot about some poetry which may or may not have been written by the long dead Hamnet. Meanwhile his daughters have their own problems. It is all a bit sad and slow, but with some pleasant touches that make it worth watching.
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9/10
Slow and quite dark in mood at times, this film also sparks with the brilliant, buoyant, Branagh touch
Sasha_Lauren31 August 2019
This is a remarkable, well researched, and speculative story penned by Ben Elton and directed by Kenneth Branagh who pours his genius and reverence for the Bard into an elegant star performance as a flawed William Shakespeare during the last few years of his life. We follow Will from as he leaves London on June 29, 1613 and goes back to his family home in Stratford-upon-Avon where he lives for three years until his death, on April 23, 1616, his own birthday. The reason for his departure is that an explosion of a prop canon caused a fire that burned down the Globe Theatre in London; this catastrophic event occurred during the run of Henry VIII, alternatively known by the title, All Is True.

Dame Judy Dench crinkles and shines as Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare's elder wife, and Sir Ian McKellen turns in a rollicking, brilliant turn as the Earl of Southampton. I heartily enjoyed Kathryn Wilder, (a bold, talented actress that Branagh has taken to casting in recent years), in her strong, riveting performance as Judith Shakespeare, the twin of Hamnet, Shakespeare's only son, (who died in childhood). Judith is wracked with a complex case of survivor's guilt; she wrestles with this torment in a narrative that interweaves with William's belated, melancholy, multi-layered grief for his departed son.

Early on in the film, a young writer, an admirer of Will's prodigious talent, approaches Shakespeare as he is tending to a starter garden he has thrown his energy into as a way to process the loss of Hamnet as well as the recent changes in his life. Although Will is resistant to speak with the lad, a wonderful conversation unfolds in which the youth questions how Shakespeare, with his limited amount of travel and schooling, could have written with such depth, breadth, surety, and expertise about the world and it's people. The answer, in pure Stratfordian mode, (that of one who believes as I do that "the plays of Shakespeare were written by the man from Stratford, of the same name"), gifts us in the moste astute, poetic, Branagh-esque delivery, with one of the most memorable lines in the film, "Do you want to be a writer, and speak to others and for others? Speak first for yourself. Search within. Consider the contents of your own soul. Your humanity. And if you're honest with yourself, then whatever you write, all is true."

The William Shakespeare in this film espoused that one must take what one knows and use imagination to flush out the rest. This seems to wink at the Shakespeare authorship question, and provide an ironic wink to the film itself. May it be said that "All Is True" in this historically inspired, suppositional story about a playwright that wrote historically inspired, suppositional stories? Heck no! But the result was, to me, a tale of beauty that managed to toss into the mix a tongue-in-cheek gander at the intriguing "second best bed" part of Will's will, in which he left this bed to his wife, Anne.

This tale explores details that are known about Shakespeare and his family and takes an imaginative, explorational look at the relationships with his wife and daughters as well as his daughters own family affairs. Sonnets are recited, drinks and laughs are had with McKellen's guilded Southampton. Dame Dench, though a great deal older than Ken, was, to my taste, a delightful choice for this role. The film, which moves slowly and is quite dark in mood at times, also sparks with the brilliant, buoyant, Branagh directing touch, made with love, and I loved it well.
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10/10
See this film. Fill your heart.
kisssara19 May 2019
A brilliant film. The entire 2 hours took my breath away. I stumble for lack of words.... I am humbled by the clarity and beauty of how life is portrayed. Storytelling at its finest.
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3/10
Thank goodness Shakespeare's poetry and plays were not as dull as this movie's fabricated screenplay about his life.
wiseask28 January 2020
Kenneth Branagh's All is True earned an extra two stars from me for its sublime recitation - twice - of Shakespeare's own Sonnet No. 29, and for showing beautiful scenery of the English countryside. But I have a better idea: Instead of wasting nearly two hours in front of your television (or even worse, paying to sit through this snooze fest of a film in a theater), simply google Shakespearean Sonnet 29 and English Countryside, Images.

As Shakespeare himself forewarned in Richard II: "I wasted time, and now doth time waste me." The Bard might very well have been referring to watching All is True.
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10/10
Should get lots of Oscars
keithrichardkirwan26 February 2019
Can't remember when I saw such a good film acting, photography, sets everything
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10/10
Lovely, thoughtful film
suejsaunders9 February 2019
I loved this film and found it so worthwhile to watch, Kenneth Branagh moved me with his fantastic performance. A lovely film.
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5/10
Great Actors, Great subject, So-so flick.
jconsumers24 May 2019
The script attempts to address the many vexed questions of WS' last years; but does so with dubious success. The problem being, that it poses questions for which it does provide answers. There are some hugely successful scenes; the gallows speech of Aaron from 'Titus Andronicus" (particularly clever as Aaron brings forth a boy - which his speech shall save); the ticking off of his antagonists, and the sly 'second bed' MacGuffin. The Ian McKellen 'Dark Lady' scene seemed an excuse for a gratuitous cameo. It is almost as if the gods of Olympus had mounted a frame play, but chose the minor poet Metriótita to craft the script. The special effects scenes with Hamnet are poignant, yet lack the magical realism at which Shakespeare excelled. The pacing often dragged, and the garden metaphor - while apt - became tedious at times. Fab costumes and sets. Neighbor's dog should be nominated for a Woofie!
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10/10
Worth a viewing for those who like mysteries as well as Shakespeare
a_baker-3039713 February 2019
The film portrays, the best it can on the available evidence and schoolers expertise, the final yrs of Shakespeare in retirement. Excellent costumes if all a bit too New looking, with accurate references, superb dialogue/script from Ben Elton... watch his comedic series 'Up start Crow'. It seems dark, but is realistic to the time as only candle light. Well worth seeing not only from the historical perspective but also the performances, camera/ lighting and Ben Eltons clear love for the Bard of Stratford
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4/10
Gorgeous to look at but very dull.
MOscarbradley8 November 2019
You certainly can't fault the look of Kenneth Branagh's "All is True" or Branagh's desire to get it right. This is his film about the last days of a certain William Shakespeare, Esquire, playwright and poet of this parish and Branagh plays Shakespeare, (naturally). The script is by Ben Elton and it does feel like one artist's, (or in this case, two artist's), tribute to another though it's clear that Elton and Branagh are no Bards. This may be a gorgeous looking film, well acted, especially by Ian McKellen as the Earl of Southampton and the object of Will's deepest affection, (it would appear Mr Shakespeare was at least bisexual), but otherwise very much on the dull side. There is drama to be had from the material, (intrigues etc. amongst the family), but it never comes to life. This is an airless film that just about creeps along. Kudos and prizes certainly to Cinematographer Zac Nicholson; otherwise very much a waste of time.
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10/10
They had me in tears
thesuf13 September 2019
I wasn't aware of this movie until I saw Kenneth Branagh's name mentioned browsing through the available movies on iTunes. I immediately clicked to watch and in all honesty no regrets. This was such a beautifully, moving movie. The cinematography was amazing. Patrick Doyle's score was beyond words and made every scene more dramatic. Great performances by Judi Dench and Ian McKellen. Surprise of surprises: the screenplay was written by Ben Elton, who is better known for his comedy writing for shows such as The Young Ones and Blackadder. He has come a long way with this. This movie was such a labor of love. The passion for Shakespeare's life and works radiates off the screen. They may have taken some liberties in the historical accuracy department but this is such a well-made movie one can forgive the shortcomings. And I am not ashamed to say that the ending had moved me to tears. Well worth the viewing.
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1/10
Disappointing beyond belief.
aussiecubs19 May 2019
Just because the writer and director are dealing with one of the most interesting, well loved and intriguing figures in English literature does not guarantee the end result will be a good film.

The film is poorly written and directed. Extremely slow and boring, with only a few occasional sparks generated by the magic of Shakespeare's writing adapted into the dialogue.

Branagh's performance is flat and uninspiring and brings no spark or insight into his portrayal of this wonderfully interesting literary genius. Judi Dench is badly miscast as Shakespeare's wife Anne Hathaway, 29 years older than Branagh compared to the 8 years difference between Shakespeare and his wife. Dench comes across more like his mother than his wife.

Some adequate acting from the rest of the cast cannot save the film from disaster.

Fans of Shakespeare will be disappointed, the frequent references to his work don't translate into something interesting as far as the film itself is concerned. Non fans of Shakespeare will just shake their head in disbelief as the pedestrian pace grinds on and on.

The most disappointing film I have seen in a long time prompts me to warn others about this film. I found the film to be a complete failure and a torturous waste of 101 minutes of my life that I will never get back.
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8/10
Slow and dreamy but a poetic Labour of Love and insight.
tm-sheehan25 August 2019
Warning: Spoilers
My Review - All is True. Rating 7.5 /10

When I first saw the trailer of this movie I mentally put it on my must see list but for reasons unbeknown to me it's release seemed to come and go like a thief in the night. I was prompted by a friends great recommendation while watching this on an overseas flight and finally tracked it down on DVD and I'm glad I did.

I really enjoyed "All is True " a labour of love written by Ben Elton and starring 3 of the greatest actors on the planet today Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench and Ian McKellen with an excellent supporting cast .

Kenneth Branagh stars as William Shakespeare and also directed the movie,he plays a sensitive,quiet ,contemplative Shakespeare returning home after his beloved Globe theatre burnt to the ground on June 29th 1613 ,never to write a play again and to spend his last 3 years of his life creating a memorial garden to his son Hamnet who died at 11 years old in August 1596. He also is facing the consequences of his long absences from home to his family and the fact he has missed many family joys and tragedies as his dutiful wife Anne Hathaway played so beautifully by Judi Dench who is quick to point this out to her part stranger of a husband.

When Will insists that he did mourn Hamnet, his only son, who died in 1596 at age 11, Anne bites back, "You mourn him now. At the time you wrote Merry Wives of Windsor." There's also the resentment ,scandal and sarcasm of his daughters for this most famous of all Writers to reconcile with and to process as a result of his neglect during his long absences in London.

In a very poignant quote from Will (Kenneth Branagh in the movie sums up his situation . "I've lived so long in imaginary worlds, I think I've lost sight of what is real, of what is true. Of course all the dialogue is fiction as no one can know how these characters really reacted but the events are mostly factual.

I thought Judi Dench's performance in this film as Anne Hathaway was one of the most memorable I've seen from this great actress in many years . It's a quiet sad portrayal of a woman who has held her family together and just got on with life while her Elizabethan Superstar husband had been absent and while providing a comfortable life materially has become almost an aloof stranger on his return.

Ian McKellen Is delightfully foppish and effete as the Earl of Southhampton ,who visits Shakespeare at home . It's believed by some that he was the inspiration for Shakespeare's love poetry. Their exchange of recitations from his Sonnet 29 becomes the fulcrum for an intimate, nuanced scene about a love forbidden for reasons both of decorum and class."

This is a slow dreamy beautifully filmed movie, a labour of love that should have had a better distribution in Cinemas ,not everyone's cuppa tea I suppose but if you love great acting and the astounding output of the great catalogue of works by the genius wordsmith William Shakespeare you'll find this film moving and one that you think about a long time after watching it .

Like many of Shakespeare 'S works this film has a contemporary message for today when men and women are chasing their tails for fame or fortune in busy careers that take them away from family and friends and what counts in life ,especially at the end which is to be present and loved.
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Branagh + Shakespeare
chesdaveashline27 March 2019
Kenneth Branagh never disappoints and here, portraying Shakespeare in his final years, he truly excels. A beautifully paced drama that showed Sir Kenneth' s great ability to engage his audience from the very beginning. A million miles from the nightmare of school time shakespeare. A heartfelt thank you to Sir Kenneth, you did it again!
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2/10
"Days Of Our Lives" At Stratford-Upon-Avon
mickeysrq11 June 2019
This is a slow moving maudlin soap opera about the Bard coming back to Stratford to retire and try to reconcile family matters with the wife Anne nee Hathaway and the two daughters. The younger daughter, Judith, is still unmarried at the ripe old age of 28 and the prospects aren't looking good. The center of the plot is Hamnet, who was born Judith's twin but died when he was 11 of the plague. Shake wants to plant a garden in his honor but wifey Judi Dench and daughter take it upon themselves to remind Shake over and over that he didn't even make it back to S-U-A when Hamnet died.

I suppose this soap opera being (allegedly) about Shakespeare gives it special meaning. Watching this awful drama I just thought praise heavens Shake that you went to London and stayed there most of the time because you would not have gotten anything accomplished in that freaking daily melodrama.

If you like Judi Dench go for it. She has a great Elizabethan/Jacobean frown that pretty much carries through the film. I like her but didn't see where she made a difference. Ian McKellen as the Earl Of Southhampton yeah pretty good but he had some good lines, nice outfit and looked, well, properly ugly in an Elizabethan way. When wifey hears he might drop by she gets all over Shake about his sonnets since she figured he had the hots for the Earl.

And the "cinematography" ain't all that much either. Can't carry this made-for-tv melodrama.

So go see it for yourself. I just have no faith in Kenneth Branagh now, someone who's managed to make a career off Shakespeare. Finally got the nerve to get up and go for a drink of water 10-15 minutes before it was over, never to return.
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