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"All is True" stars Kenneth Branagh, recognisable here only by his voice and the hint of wry resignation that shades so many of his performances.
"What was Shakespeare like?", with a scenario focusing on the playwright’s last three years. The Globe theatre has been consumed by fire, bringing his life in London to an end, and he has returned to his house in Stratford-upon-Avon to rejoin his wife, Anne (Judi Dench) and his two grown-up daughters.Will's daughter Judith (Australian actress Kathryn Wilder) is also disturbed by her father’s grief: Hamnet was her twin and she’s sure that her father has always felt that the wrong twin died.
On hearing that the Earl of Southampton (Ian McKellen) is coming to visit, Shakespeare dashes around the house, joyfully spreading the news, oblivious to Anne’s fury: she’s already been humiliated by the suggestion that Will's passion for the Earl inspired his sonnets; now she has to endure the man’s presence under her roof. The visit itself is the film’s glittering centrepiece, with McKellen, in long ringlets and feathered hat, pulling rank in a jovially callous way. It’s all done in a single conversation. He’s attempting to seduce Will into writing again and so fulsome is his praise that Will dares to declare his affection, only to be squashed by the old snob’s derision. Much as he admires Will as a writer, his station in life makes it impossible for him to extend his admiration to him as a man. It’s a superbly managed scene and the coup de grace is administered with the sunniest and most eloquent of smiles. It’s the kind of smile that says: if you’d thought for a moment, you’d have realised that you were about to make a complete fool of yourself. However, I excuse you. We won’t speak of this again.
The script is by Ben Elton, better known for seeing the hilarious side of the Shakespearean age in the TV serials Blackadder and Upstart Crow. Here, he straightens his face and quietens his urge to lampoon. Directed by Branagh, the film is only lightly dusted with dry humour. Working from what little is known of Shakespeare’s life, Elton has crafted a plausible imagining of the yawning gaps in the record. The main game centres on the gradual thaw that takes place between Will and the sceptical Anne, still brooding on her husband’s years of indifference." SMH
Release Date: 14 Aug 2019
Actor(s): Kenneth Branagh, Lolita Chakrabarti, Jack Colgrave Hirst, Doug Colling, Eleanor de Rohan, Judi Dench, Phil Dunster, Freya Durkan, Flora Easton, Sam Ellis, Hadley Fraser, Ian Hearnshaw, Cassandra Hodges, Gerard Horan, Matt Jessup
Catalogue No: DK3992
Disc Count: 1
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
OFLC Rating: M
Run Time: 101
Transfer Format: 16:9 Enhanced, Widescreen, Full Height Anamorphic
Video Format: PAL
Primary Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Language: English, Dolby Digital 5.1
Region Code: 2,4,5
OFLC Advice: Coarse Language
Dubbed Languages: English, Dolby Digital 5.1
Director(s): Kenneth Branagh
Genre: Drama, Biography, Historical, History & Culture