Excerpt: The world of theater and politics collide when the Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere (Rhys Ifans) decides he wants to have some of the plays he's written for the court performed for the masses, so he leaks his work to playwright Ben Jonson (Sebastian Armesto) to have them performed as if they were his. Not wanting to take credit, Jonson passes them onto an actor named William Shakespeare (Rafe Spall) who puts his own name on them when the plays prove to be popular.
Conclusion: Inspired by the preposterous Oxfordian theory, which questions the authorship of Shakespeare's works, disaster filmmaker Roland Emmerich makes an attempt at shattering the literary world by imagining the theory as a historical possibility. In actuality, 'Anonymous' plays out more like a political thriller set against a backdrop of Queen Elizabeth's succession.
Excerpt: The Film Another film about William Shakespeare and yet another film that tells the life of Queen Elizabeth I - haven't we done this before? But this time Anonymous , which questions the authorship of the Bard of Avon is from Roland Emmerich, someone normally associated with big budget disaster films and invading aliens than a story of conspiracies and political intrigue.
Conclusion: Anonymous never quite sorts itself out well enough to be of much value on a first viewing; it's complex to a fault and will leave many viewers uncertain of what they've watched or why they've watched it. On the other hand, the film is gorgeous, well made and nicely acted. It tells a story that should be riveting but that is instead lost to excess stuffiness and too much ambition.
Excerpt: Everything viewers need to know about Anonymous —and about the whole stupid world of anti-Stratfordians, the conspiracy theorists who believe William Shakespeare was not the author of the plays and poems that bear his name—can be gleaned by the pronunciation of a single word in the film’s first scene.
Summary: The King of Disaster directing a costume drama? It seems about as likely as David Lynch tackling a Katherine Heigl romantic-comedy and yet here we are with Emmerich trying to persuade us not only that Shakespeare was a cypher but also that the director can do more than just blow stuff up.
Conclusion: A curveball from the man who made 2012 and Independence Day and probably only a brief respite for the world's major cities.It's more of an interesting curio to a blockbuster career but there's fun to be had here if you look hard enough.