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Anonymous (2011)

Rhys Ifans , Vanessa Redgrave , Roland Emmerich  |  PG-13 |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (213 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave, David Thewlis, Sebastian Armesto, Rafe Spall
  • Directors: Roland Emmerich
  • Writers: John Orloff
  • Producers: Charlie Woebcken, Christoph Fisser, Henning Molfenter, John Orloff, Kirstin Winkler
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Chinese, English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 7, 2012
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (213 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0068MNO4S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,947 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Anonymous" on IMDb

Special Features

Commentary with Director Roland Emmerich and Writer John Orloff
Who Is The Real William Shakespeare?

Editorial Reviews

Historical romp Anonymous takes an academic controversy (did the man named Shakespeare write the plays attributed to him?) and whips it into a lurid melodrama, crammed with political intrigue, heaving bosoms, flashing swordplay, conspiracies, forced marriage, incest, and more. Towards the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans, Enduring Love), seeks an outlet for his poetic drive: he tries to get the playwright Ben Jonson (Sebastian Armesto) to present his plays as Jonson's own. Jonson is reluctant to undercut his own work… but his friend, a vainglorious illiterate actor by the name of William Shakespeare (Rafe Spall), happily claims the glory when Oxford's plays prove hugely popular. But the real story of Anonymous isn't about authorship, it's about machinations to capture the throne of England when Elizabeth (Vanessa Redgrave) dies. Wily counselors vie with dashing secret heirs, royal dallying leads to shocking secrets, and supposedly the plays are inextricably caught up in it all--except that they're not, really, and so Anonymous, for all its clever plotting and lush production values, falls flat by the end. Still, it's an enjoyable confection up to then, and showcases some lovely (if woefully historically inaccurate--the mosh-pit moment is delightfully preposterous) presentations of bits of the plays. Also featuring David Thewlis (Naked) and Joely Richardson, daughter of Ms. Redgrave, playing the younger Elizabeth. --Bret Fetzer

Product Description

Set in the political snake-pit of Elizabethan England, Anonymous speculates on an issue that has for centuries intrigued academics and brilliant minds... who was the author of the plays credited to William Shakespeare? Anonymous poses one possible answer, focusing on a time when cloak-and-dagger political intrigue, illicit romances in the Royal Court, and the schemes of greedy nobles hungry for the power were exposed in the most unlikely of places: the London stage.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
191 of 232 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The truth about Shakespeare lies elsewhere December 27, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I always accepted the idea that Shakespeare wrote his own plays, and considered anything to the contrary to be merely speculation not fact. So, the premise-what if Shakespeare never wrote a word, I found not to be appealing.

Upon reading some good reviews, I decided to see it, and found it to be a high quality production and a wonderful experience. Director Roland Emmerich previously directed 2012, and Independence Day, and writer John Orloff previously wrote some episodes of Band of Brothers, and as you watch this movie you will realise this term BoB originated with Shakespeare.

Anonymous proposes the Earl of Oxford wrote all the plays, anonymously donated them to Ben Johnson, a well known writer of the time for him to take credit. Then an uncouth illiterate actor, named Shakespeare steps in to claim the credit. The peer remained anonymous for reasons of social acceptability.

Another reason he may have remained anonymous which I totally loved was the parallel structure between what happened in the plays, and the real life events of the courtiers and Queen Elizabeth. Cecil, the courtier villain in this movie is a hunchback (historical fact), and brother in law of the Earl of Oxford. Richard 3 in Shakespeare's play is a hunchback, so the play becomes a social satire.

A scene where a man is stabbed through a curtain mirrors a scene in Hamlet. A usurped heir is sent to Ireland, and there is a plot to kill him, similar to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Hamlet.

Emmerich's direction gives Anonymous a much grander scope.
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136 of 176 people found the following review helpful
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Roland Emmerich's new film, Anonymous, is inspired by the same theory that gripped Sigmund Freud during the last dozen years of his life--that "William Shakespeare" was the pseudonym and front man of Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford (1550-1604). When you see this film and ponder its thesis, I hope you will remind yourself that Freud was passionately intrigued by the likelihood that de Vere was Shakespeare. Before long, I predict Freud will be vindicated. The film has generated much debate, some of it acrimonious. Yet the Anonymous website has a poll showing that only 51% of visitors still believe the traditional author wrote the canon.

When his wife Anne pleads with de Vere to stop writing plays, he replies, "The voices! I can't stop them. They come to me. I would go mad if I didn't write down what the voices say." This is an intriguing surmise about de Vere's creative process, as though his Muse speaks to him aloud. In fact, I suspect that some form of unusual awareness and tolerance of multiple self states plays a crucial role for some literary geniuses such as de Vere.

Psychoanalysts are in a unique position to elucidate the psychology of literary anonymity and pseudonymity. The evidence suggests that keeping one's authorship secret helps promote what Keats called Shakespeare's "negative capability"--keeping his own identity in the background as he created hundreds of utterly convincing characters. In a sense, Edward de Vere's most magical character of all was his pseudonym and front man, "William Shakespeare." With some likely assistance from the man from Stratford, this character lives on for most people more vividly than does de Vere himself. Why did de Vere have to conceal his authorship? For many reasons. Nobility did not write for the common theater.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film!!! February 4, 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Highly recommend this film. Rhys Ifans is fantastic and the screenplay is outstanding. Very underrated and fascinating take on Shakespeare.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie - should of gotten more attention January 10, 2014
By Danny
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I was teaching a class on Shakespeare and the authorship question came up. I began to research the latest theories concerning this issue and stumbled upon this film and showed a preview to the students. The movie trailer looked very interesting and I ended up buying the movie off of Amazon. I couldn't find it anywhere else. The movie gives a very dramatic theory as to who really wrote the works of Shakespeare and it was very entertaining. It is a film that takes some very dramatic liberties with the whole issue and the only downfall is that people watching the movie might think that because it is a movie...that it must be the gospel truth. It is not. The movie really stretches some of the known facts to make their "story" work. It is great fun however and it does bring out some new questions. The film is very well made and the acting is excellent. It is a shame that this movie didn't do well in the box office and that it isn't more well known. I would be a little nervous about showing this to high school is PG-13...but I wouldn't show it. I did, however, come back and discuss some of the movie and focused on the long debate that the Earl of Oxford was the one that wrote the plays. We began look at other theories too. The DVD version does have a "behind the scenes" feature that has the director and screenwriter discussing their process in making the movie and this would be something that would great for students to look at. Even if you don't use the film for is still very enjoyable for anyone who loves the bard and the great authorship mystery. I highly recommend the move...just is a movie.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing
Over the years I have heard stories that Shakespeare did not write the plays, etc., attributed to him. Read more
Published 3 days ago by R. Howard Courtney
2.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful but disturbing for a History Buff
Though I did enjoy the movie, and the visuals are impressive (I found it visually stunning), I was quite disturbed by the protrayal of Queen Elizabeth I and William Shakespear: the... Read more
Published 16 days ago by J. Barnett
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Very interesting take about Shakespeare's story. Very entertaining and well done. Highly recommended to those interested in history and conspiracy.
Published 19 days ago by russell d auwae
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
Well played wit just the right stuff of mystery.

Did not care for the way Jonson was scripted.

Confusion reigns with the excerpts of the past. Read more
Published 1 month ago by preacher
4.0 out of 5 stars World destroyer takes aim at Shakespeare
Roland Emmerich has specialized in destroying the world on screen: by alien invasion (Independence Day); monsters (Godzilla); climate change (The Day After Tomorrow); and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Steve
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous movie
Unlike any other movie I had ever seen. I have watched it at least 3 times!! Fabulous time period & costumes, and the acting was superb!
Published 1 month ago by Jessica
1.0 out of 5 stars not unless you have run oir of episodes of the Tudors etc. watch...
Using film for political purposes. He is not here to defend himself. Attempt to rewrite history and Not a good movie (or acting).
Published 1 month ago by Ava Brown
3.0 out of 5 stars Darkness, as usual
Regardless of reality which could have been even much darker, I like depicting the English history and royal court affairs with this story of William Shakespeare, as screened.
Published 1 month ago by Michael Kerjman
5.0 out of 5 stars Anonymous - the movie
I'm not sure, but I think that this movie didn't get enough "play" for me to have heard about it when I encountered it on a free HBO weekend. Read more
Published 2 months ago by The Old Kayaker
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous
A great movie! It's complicated! U must watch it several times. A really intriguing story.. Now to know if its true.
Published 2 months ago by Darolyn Butler
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