It seems like nowadays, my movie watching is scheduled only for the weekends :). So after a Bollywood movie, followed by a Kollywood movie, got to see a Hollywood movie today. Its Rolan Emmerich’s Anonymous. The only other Shakespeare based movie I have seen is the romantic comedy drama ‘Shakespeare in Love‘, which I had immensely liked (thanks to Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes…what’s not to like in that movie eh 😉 ?). So It was a sort of shock to see someone else as the author of those stories that I have enjoyed as Shakespeare’s and also to see him as an extortionist. I don’t know much of history during those times in the Elizabethian Era (apart from the stories I had heard from my tour guide, during the trip to Scotland) so I will take it as a fictional drama.
OK. Here is the alert: Spoiler Alert
It was a sad thing for me to see Professor Lupin or Mooney as William Cecil who is the evil mastermind behind the whole story. The game he started unfolds through ages, even if it ends in an irony with his son Robert Cecil. You should have seen his face at the end with King James :). Ben Johnson, a writer, is called by Edward (who cannot publicly acknowledge his skills) to take his plays and stage them. But unfortunately, for Ben Johnson, William Shakespeare announces himself as the author which puts Ben and Edward to shock, because Ben would have confined in Shakespeare that he is not the writer. In between comes the political drama where in Robert tries to bring down the Earl of Essex and the Queen trusting too much on the Cecil’s, Edward being ridiculed by his family for not taking of their financial affairs…etc.etc.
The way the movie starts is different and very nice. I liked it. It starts with a stage play and goes to the actual action from there and ends also in the same way. It was done beautifully. The art direction was very good and the photography too. There are two flashbacks, one that of Edward and that of Elizabeth. Those flashbacks confused me a little. Because they weren’t in order and it was difficult for me to keep track. It went back and forth suddenly without any indication. All the actors in this movie did a mighty fine job. Since I don’t know the authenticity of such a plot and am willing to take it as a fiction, I cannot say anything about the story. But if it is a fiction, it was a nice one. It was like the story ‘The Seventh Secret’ by Irving Wallace (where they take the story assuming what would have happened if Hitler was not dead in his bunker).
In almost all cultures and civilizations, literature & art (in all forms) have had a great role in the revolutions that have happened all through out the history. Here too we have the plot using the plays of Shakespeare (or Edward) for political gains. How painful would it be to write something that great and immortal like ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and not have one’s own name assigned to it, instead have a proxy. There is a line said by Ben Johnson almost at the end which is so very true. ‘Ruin? Dishonor? My lady, you, your family, even I, even Queen Elizabeth herself will be remembered solely because we had the honor to live whilst your husband put ink to paper.’ How many people have become immortals just because of their works, in spite of centuries past and the technology so advanced. That is the strength of literature and art.
Overall, an interesting take and a well done movie.