All is True
Showtime: Wednesday, November 6th
Time: 101 Minutes
Genre: Drama, biography
In 1613, London’s Globe Theatre burns to the ground when a special effects cannon misfires during a performance of Shakespeare’s Henry Vlll, alternately entitled All is True. As a result, William Shakespeare, the most famous poet and dramatist of his time (Kenneth Branagh), decides to retire to his home in Stratford-on-Avon. Despite his 20-year absence, he expects to resume the role of head of the household and to reconnect with his wife, Anne Hathaway (Judi Dench) and his two daughters: Susannah (Lydia Wilson) who is married and Judith (Kathryn Wilder) who is not. However the neglectful husband and father receives a less than enthusiastic welcome. Mourning the past death of his eleven-year-old son, Hamnet, Shakespeare plants a commemorative garden, sad that no one will carry on the family name. Shakespeare’s patron and alleged “Dark Lady”, the old Earl of Southampton (Ian McKellen) pays him a visit, all the while rejecting the bard’s friendly advances on the grounds of his own social superiority. All is not so true for Shakespeare as he is denied the verities of family and friends that comfort and console in old age. All may not be so true as well, in director Kenneth Branagh’s film where speculation mixes with biographical record. However fact and conjecture make a heady brew that can be far more entertaining and satisfying than all that is true.