Since my teen years, William Shakespeare has been my constant lover and companion. I have to confess, we never really did a “getting to know you” session, though. We went straight into the hot and steamy love affair. I also admire historical fiction in general, in a “we can be friends with benefits” kind of way. So when I first saw the trailer for Anonymous, it was already decided that I would see it. I had to make a conscious decision to not research this story line ahead of time. I wanted to come into this as clean as possible. I have to say that wasn’t a mistake. Jared and I settled into watch this on a cold snowy afternoon and it was a solid choice.
The opening and closing way of pulling you into the movie was very Shakespearean in and of itself. It was completely annoying to have the flashbacks in a flashback of a flashback, though, and did almost ruin the mood. I felt like I needed a pen and paper to start taking notes on the timeline and who did what when. This proved a useful tool however as I found myself rocking a wiki on my dear Williams life to see what was fiction and what was fact. After all, isn’t the point of a good movie to send you home thinking about it later?
The movie takes the Oxfordian theory on Shakespeare (wiki it! It was an interesting article!) as its base and builds a very elaborate story line, mixing historical fact and fictional liberties (like assuming the Queen of England could get pregnant and it go unnoticed!). This is the brand of historical fiction I love. It is passion and theory on the emotions of people who lived and died long ago.
Reading a historical textbook always was so damn boring to me in school, until Mr. Paddock, my 11th grade social studies teacher, taught me to not think of the month and year and event, but think of the people of the times. Shakespeare has often been referred to as the “Soul of the Age”. This film portrays that very well, even if you don’t believe the Oxfordians and are a firm Stratfordian believer. In the visual aspect alone, you are transported back to the early 1600’s and the dawning of a new age in England (even though the film was shot in Germany!). Minor annoyances aside, I whole heartedly recommend RedBox-ing this movie! It was not really worth a family going to the movies opening day, but it was definitely worth my money for a movie rental. Don’t forget the cocoa and popcorn!