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Home Entertainment Movie Reviews “All Is True” Opens in Theaters May 10th

“All Is True” Opens in Theaters May 10th


Reviewed by Cleo Coulter

If you watch historical films for the dialogue, costume, and locations, this is your film. ‘All is True,’ directed and produced by Kenneth Branagh is a film based around the little known facts about William Shakespeare after the fire and destruction of the Globe theater, where he held his work. Branagh’s film takes a look into William Shakespeare, not as a demigod, but as a flawed mortal man.

Left to right: Jack Colgrave Hirst as Tom Quiney, Kathryn Wilder as Judith Shakespeare, Kenneth Branagh as William Shakespeare, Judi Dench as Anne Hathaway, Clara Ducz- mal as Elizabeth Hall, Lydia Wilson as Susanna Hall
Photo by Robert Youngson, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

The film is set late into William Shakespeare life after he had stopped writing and returned to his family. Written by Ben Elton, ‘All is True’ gives modern film watchers access to the legendary author’s personal life, even going as far as adding a surprise performance by Ian McKellen (Earl of Southampton) while keeping to the Olde English used during those times.

Ian McKellen as Henry Wriothesley
Photo by Robert Youngson, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

This film is easy to look at, due to the lack of electricity of those times allowed the director, who was also the film’s lead of Shakespeare, to create cleaver ways of illuminating the set and actors. Though this film showcased the classical period, nothing was conventional about it. All the glory had left William Shakespeare, as he returned from the wildlife in London to his home in Stratford to his wife, Anne, played by film legend Judi Dench and their two daughters Judith (Kathryn Wilder) and Suzanna Hall (Lydia Wilson).
Branagh and Elton pulled stories from facts about Shakespeare and attitudes derived from Shakespeare’s plays. These stories were from his personal life. In addressing the passing of Shakespeare’s only son Hamnet and the controversy surrounding the facts surrounding his death, created high tension that elevated the script and gave this film depth.

There were no flashback scenes of Shakespeare in the midst of writing a story in this film. This film focused on how removed he had become with writing in general after the fire of the Globe theater. Branagh’s performance of Shakespeare humanized a man, who has mystified us and peeling the layers off a legend by showing how ordinarily human his family life was.

Left to Right: Judi Dench as Anne Hathaway, Kenneth Branagh as William Shakespeare Photo by Robert Youngson, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

There are parts of his life in this film that normalizes, what can seem like a different language to this modern generation and allows a new generation to freshen up on their old English and become familiar with Shakespeare’s poetry.

Film Director Kenneth Branagh’s, “All is True” is an exciting piece to watch. Whether the stories elaborated are necessary for making a movie is up for debate. The director/producer took a common approach of transporting the viewer into the classical age with costume, candlelit sets an excellent set design choices during a period where film companies are afraid to promote films such as these that test the viewers’ patience and understanding without an explosion every twenty minutes. Branagh put an unwritten Shakespearian play on the big screen and as unconventional as that sounds, made a thoroughly enjoyable movie.

Directed by Kenneth Branagh and Written by Ben Elton

All Is True stars Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Kathryn Wilder, Lydia Wilson



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