ALL IS TRUE – Kenneth Branagh directs and plays the role of William Shakespeare in this movie set in 1613 when the bard has already been recognized as the greatest playwright of his time. Shakespeare, however, is having a bad time after the Globe Theatre burned to the ground and a few years earlier, his only son, Hamnet, had died. Shakespeare is a successful author, but now he has decided not to write anymore and instead he is back at his home in Stratford, back to a family he has neglected and now has to face the consequences of that behaviour.
The first night at home his wife Anne (Judy Dench) makes it clear how she feels about her husband when guiding him to the bedroom she has arranged for him: “This is the guest’s chamber, it has the best bed, and the visitor always gets the best bed.” His relation will not be better with his daughters, Susannah (Lydia Wilson) unhappily married to a puritan doctor, and Judith (Kathryn Wilder), not yet married.
Away from many social contacts, reluctantly attending church services, although from time to time receiving some important visitors, Shakespeare devotes most of his time to a garden that he decided to start, that would keep him apart from the haunting memories and images of his only son (Sam Ellis) whose untimely death shrouds some unsettling truths.
Branagh delivers a solid performance as the tormented writer caught between a successful life as a playwright and a poet, but a sad one as a father and husband. For her part Judy Dench, that grand lady of the British screen, portrays a convincing wife dealing with the everyday affairs of her home, caring for the children, indeed the head of the household, in the shadow of her brilliant but absent husband”All is True” will please those interested in anything that has a relation to Shakespeare, but it may also interest women for some very contemporary underlying problems present in the plot. There is also an excellent re-creation of the period and pleasant music as well. Recommended to all.
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