So evidently Francis Bacon was not the only who claimed that he was actually the one who wrote all of Shakespeare’s’ plays, as now we have a rather preposterous claim that the real author was the Earl of Oxford. The same man who according to this new movie, was also Queen Elizabeth’s son AND her lover and the father of one her several illegitimate children. Wow!
This new re-writing of English literary history is the work of German filmmaker Roland Emmerich whose over-active imagination has previously brought us blockbuster movies such as ‘Independence Day’, ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ and ‘Godzilla.’ I want to add that the story is by scriptwriter John Orloff who is American, but I would hate you to think I am a xenophobic Brit. As if.
So if you forget the facts, this historical drama is a really good romp. Superb sets and special effects, the most perfect period costumes, and some wonderful cinematography. I won’t comment more on the slightly silly plot but will tell you that it is immensely watchable because of the wonderful ensemble of superb British actors who excel in their roles. They include the exotic Mark Rylance (2 time ‘Tony Award winner), Rhys Ifan (recently Howard Marks ‘Mr Nice’), veteran Derek Jacobi (‘I Claudius’), Rafe Spall as Mr. Shakespeare (and as funny as his actor father Timothy Spall), David Thewlis (‘War Horse’) and stealing every single scene she is in, the regal Vanessa Redgrave as Queen Elizabeth (her daughter Joely Richardson plays the young Queen).
Good historical escapism and a must for lovers of costume dramas and any anglophiles out there.
P.S. And the reason all these rumors about the authorship of Shakespeare’s work have been around for centuries is essentially that snobby Brits just found it too hard to accept that a poor un-educated country bumpkin son of a simple tradesman could possibly have written some of the world’s finest prose!