Director: Roland Emmerich
Stars: Rhys Ifans, David Thewlis, Vaness Redgrave, Joely Richardson, Sebastian Armesto, Rafe Spall, Derek Jacobi
A political thriller advancing the theory that it was in fact Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford who penned Shakespeare’s plays; set against the backdrop of the succession of Queen Elizabeth I, and the Essex Rebellion against her.
What I thought of it:
I loved that the younger Elizabeth was played by Redgrave’s daughter, Joely Richardson, making the transition between the two very plausible. Spall is also a pretty decent match for the busts and woodcuts we see of The Bard, and his annoying character, although he got on my nerves, fit with the concept that he was a bumbling, illiterate fool incapable of writing the most famous and oft-performed plays in the English language. For me, Rhys Ifans was the undoubted star of the show, closely followed by the superb Thewlis (it was wonderful seeing them perform together in this film!). All the younger versions of characters, where not played by the same actor in the “older” parts, were credible matches and performed well, and of course, Jacobi adds a touch of class to any project.
However, it was a little too long and not as exciting as the trailer would have you believe. It IS beautifully presented and has an all-star cast that gives brilliant performances, but it just falls a little short of hitting the mark.
My hubby’s review HERE.