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Movie Review: ‘Anonymous’ Starring Rhys Ifans, Joely Richardson, David Thewlis and Vanessa Redgrave

Posted: October 28, 2011 at 12:01 am   /   by   /   comments (1)

With Fall comes the beginning of Oscar season – the time of year when we get to see truly amazing films and truly mediocre films that want to be amazing. Anonymous is the latter.

Anonymous features a rather amazing cast. Rhys Ifans headlines as the Earl of Oxford, a nobleman who is thought to have penned the works that we now consider Shakespeare. Vanessa Redgrave and real-life daughter, Joely Richardson share the role of Queen Elizabeth I and David Thewlis is pitch perfect as William Cecil.

Anonymous really has a lot going for it. It’s a period thriller with an amazing cast and features a lot of great juicy plot turns. However, for as much as it gets right, it also gets something wrong. For some reason the film is introduced in modern times on a Shakespearean stage, it establishes the theory that William Shakespeare may have actually been the Earl of Oxford. Instead of allowing the film to play out as a work of historical fiction, they apparently felt the need to literally explain the premise to the audience.

While the story is very engaging, it can be extremely hard to follow. With so many characters that jump back and forth in time, it’s almost impossible to follow who all the younger counterparts are to the main adult actors. This problem is not helped by the fact that within the first 15-20 minutes of the movie, the audience is taken from modern times to the end of the story, then 5 days prior to that and then 40 years prior to that…then back to the beginning of the actual story. Confused? Yeah, me too.

Once you have a decent sense of who all these pale, goateed men are, the story is actually very engaging. With the exception of a few lines of dialogue that are a bit too on-the-nose, the script is pretty solid. The pacing works well and characters are well defined. Even as a period movie, Anonymous moves pretty fast.

Hopefully this movie will at least get under-rated actors like Rhys Ifans and Joely Richardson more exposure. Both are excellent in this film and hold their own against recognized talent like David Thewlis and Vanessa Redgrave.


Worth Your Money

Not Worth Your Money

-Worth Somebody Else’s Money-