T&S Saw It - Movie Reviews

Movie Review: All Is True

Anyone who has wondered what really made William Shakespeare tick likely will view this film with interest. It’s a more personal look than we usually get into what his feelings and relationships might have been like.

All Is True takes place in the latter part of the playwright’s life and stars Kenneth Branagh as Shakespeare and Judi Dench as his wife, Anne Hathaway. Branagh occupies the director’s chair as well. I’ve always considered him the quintessential Shakespearean film actor (Hamlet, Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing), so it was an interesting experience to see him actually play the Bard. He brings a natural sensitivity to the role that comes from years of embodying Shakespeare’s characters; there are few actors who could play him with such a thorough understanding of his soul. The makeup artists who helped transform Branagh also deserve some serious recognition.

Probably the most stirring chapter in this otherwise quiet film is when Shakespeare finally opens up to his wife and daughter about the death of 11-year-old Hamnet, the couple’s son. While in other scenes, the bereaved father seems to avoid showing any emotion, here, he becomes so animated that the depth of his personal grief really hits home. If this film is part of a renewed sense of interest in the playwright’s life and work, I’m glad to see it. Shakespeare has something to teach everyone.

Should you see it?  Yes, period drama and literary buffs especially will enjoy it. – J.J.