All Is True

Directed by critically acclaimed actor and director Kenneth Branagh best known for his Shakespearean film adaptations, All Is True is a beautifully acted and filmed historical drama that provides a fictionalized account of William Shakespeare returning home to retirement after writing his last play. Set in 1613 immediately after the Globe Theatre in London burned down, the world’s most famous playwright William Shakespeare, played by Oscar-nominated British actor Kenneth Branagh, decides to return to his family in his hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon and tries to settle down in a life of retirement. He reconnects with his wife Anne Hathaway, played by Oscar-winning British actress Dame Judi Dench, and his daughters Judith and Susanna after he has been away in London writing plays for extended periods of time. Reminiscent of a staged performance, the movie is fairly slow-paced in very intimate settings with elaborate costumes and flowery monologues between the characters. The story attempts to explore Shakespeare’s mental state by showing his preoccupation with the death of his son Hamnet many years ago and his negligence of his daughters after believing that the wrong child died; he thought his son was a genius like himself and thereby still cherishes the only supposed writings of the young Hamnet. He tries to live out a peaceful existence and even decides to create a garden in his son’s memory. However, things quickly do not going according to plan as a result of a scandal involving his married daughter Susanna and the rebellious ways of his other daughter Judith still living at home without a prospect of a husband. In one of the best moments of the film, the Earl of Southampton, played by Oscar-nominated British actor Ian McKellen also known for his Shakespearean acting, pays a visit to Shakespeare at his home and privately discuss what some believe was their romantic relationship. Overall, I found it to be yet another enriching fictionalized account of the one and only William Shakespeare and his mysterious personal life, and I was particularly taken by the terrific acting performances enhanced by the sumptuous costumes and historical attention to detail.

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