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Anonymous (12A)


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.

The critical consensus

Its a testament to Emmerich's cluttered but sincere film that, at the heart of all the flash and filigree, the play really is the thing.

***(*)(*)Damon Wise, The Guardian, 10/09/2011

The facts may be suspect but Emmerich combines craftsmanship and a strong cast to create a ripping historical romp.

***(*)(*)Allan Hunter, The List, 12/10/2011

A curveball from the man who made 2012 and Independence Day and probably only a brief respite for the world's major cities.It's more of an interesting curio to a blockbuster career but there's fun to be had here if you look hard enough.

**(*)(*)(*)Phil de Semlyen, Empire Onine, 24/10/2011

Anonymous takes an age to sort itself out while begging your indulgence for lots of long, boring stretches in which there’s much ado and speechifying about nothing.

**(*)(*)(*)Alison Rowat, The Herald, 27/10/2011

Emmerich’s mirthless hatchet job is hoisted with its own petard.

*(*)(*)(*)(*)David Evans, Little Whites Lies, 27/10/2011

Anonymous might be riper than a month-old plum, but it’s every bit as juicy.

****(*)Robbie Collin,The Telegraph, 27/10/2011

An amusing and mischievous Blackadder-style romp, enlivened by cheerfully OTT performances from Vanessa Redgrave as the Queen, Rafe Spall as Will and Rhys Ifans as the Earl of Oxford.

***(*)(*)Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, 27/10/2011

The German director Roland Emmerich's grand exercise in Elizabethan kitsch makes a very flimsy case.

**(*)(*)(*)Geoffrey Macnab, The Independent, 28/10/2011

It’s hard to see why we should care, especially as the time-jumping structure, impenetrable court intrigue, wacky incest subplots and mud-splattered cinematography make it hard to decipher what’s really going on.

**(*)(*)(*)Alistair Harkness, The Scotsman, 28/10/2011

Incest, murder, betrayal… Anonymous tries to be Shakespearean while hatching a hysterical batch of conspiracies. Slickly told, mildly diverting but ultimately fraudulent.

**(*)(*)(*)Matt Mueller, Total Film, 28/10/2011

Is this a turkey I see before me? Urm, yep.

**(*)(*)(*)Daily Record, 28/10/2011

A grotesque travesty.

*(*)(*)(*)(*)Chris Tookey, Daily Mail, 27/10/2011

The American screenwriter John Orloff may have wished for a muse of fire, but unfortunately he's been given an ear of cloth, and his film would hardly pass muster as a sixth-form end-of-term romp.

Philip French, The Observer, 30/10/2011

Features about Anonymous (12A)

Who wrote Shakespeare's plays--and does it matter?

Paul Edmonson, The Guardian, 05/09/2011

Why do they keep trotting out this Looney idea about Shakespeare?

Terry Wogan, The Telegraph, 22/10/2011

Shakespeare's plays tell us all we need to know about the man--except his identity

Robert McCrum, The Observer, 23/10/2011

Only foolish snobs don't believe in William Shakespeare

Allan Massie, The Telegraph, 25/10/2011

Shakespeare film Anonymous has lost plot, says Stratford

Ben Child, The Guardian, 25/10/2011

Shakespeare signs covered in protest of Anonymous film

BBC, 25/10/2011

Out, damn'd conspiracy! Shakespeare was no fraud.

Michael Dobson, The Guardian, 26/10/2011

Shakespeare conspiracy theories

The Telegraph, 27/10/2011

There's nothing Anonymous about William Shakespeare's genius

Jonathan Jones, The Guardian, 27/10/2011

Roland Emmerich: Appetite for deconstruction

Damon Wise, 27/10/2011

Our film Anonymous asks viewers to think for themselves about Shakespeare

John Orloff, The Guardian, 27/10/2011

Rylance defends Shakespeare film's right to question identity of Bard

Rob Sharp, The Independent, 31/10/2011

Shakespeare--a fraud? Anonymous is ridiculous

James Shapiro, The Guardian, 04/11/2011

Anonymous (12A)

Where and when?

General release. Check local listings for show times.

Edinburgh Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Friday December 9, 2011, until Thursday December 15, 2011. More info:

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