Who really wrote William Shakespeare’s plays? Theories abound as scholars, dramaturges and researchers have accused the Bard of Avon of perpetrating a massive hoax through the centuries and boiled down the suspects. Now a lavish but somewhat tedious costume epic called Anonymous investigates each and every culprit in what often seems like double the time it must have taken to write the 37 plays, 154 sonnets and numerous collected poems of the Shakespeare oeuvre in the first place. It’s an exhausting film, but worth your stamina.
Shakespeare may be the most performed playwright in the history of letters, but in 400 years not one original script has been found in his own handwriting. When he died at 52, survived by an illiterate wife and daughter, he left behind in his will no mention of a single manuscript. In Anonymous, an obvious labor of love for director Roland Emmerich, the culprit is identified as Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, a wealthy aristocrat who could not attach his real name to works of lusty romance, tragedy and political intrigue because they lampooned prominent members of the court.
To the short list of this year’s must-see movies, quickly add The Whistleblower—the harrowing true story of Kathy Bolkovac, a disillusioned Nebraska cop and divorced single mother who uncovered a horrifying underground network of human slave traffic in 1999 postwar Bosnia protected by both the American military and high-ranking Read More
The producers of Driving Miss Daisy–a profitable show during its Broadway run–have decided to stick with a sure thing, bringing the cast (Vanessa Redgrave, James Earl Jones, and Boyd Gaines) and creative team over to the West End for an October 2011 opening. Ms. Redgrave’s and Mr. Jones’s recent theatrical ventures (The Year of Magical Read More
How About You
Running time 100 minutes
Written by Jean Pasley
Directed by Anthony Byrne
Starring Hayley Atwill, Orla Brady, Vanessa Redgrave, Brenda Fricker, Imelda Staunton, Joss Ackland
How About You is a confection about Christmas in a senior citizen’s home in Ireland that has fallen on hard times. The Read More
Running time 113 minutes
Written by Michael Cunningham and Susan Minot
Directed by Lajos Koltai
Starring Vanessa Redgrave, Meryl Streep, Claire Danes, Hugh Dancy
Red-faced, I’m feeling contrite this week. I rant against mediocrity and plead so ardently for intelligent movies about real people saying coherent things to each other Read More
Things go wrong in the theater, apart from the show. On the one hand, spontaneous hiccups and disasters remind us all that it’s live up there and that anything can happen. On the other hand, when something goes wrong, we feel so relieved when all is O.K. again that a round of applause is almost Read More
The truth is, Eugene O’Neill scares me to death. And the thing that scares and disturbs me so deeply about his greatest play, Long Day’s Journey Into Night , isn’t connected to what it means to us-we can take that for granted-but what it meant to O’Neill.
No autobiographical drama about a man’s family Read More
Marleen Gorris’ Mrs. Dalloway , from a screenplay by Eileen Atkins, based on the novel by Virginia Woolf, manifests itself on the screen as a melody of half-notes on the eternal subject of the way we are in contrast to the way we were. The film, like the magnificent novel from which it is adapted, Read More