Let’s be honest I know very little about Shakespeare. Yes I went to see Othello at Donmar Warehouse Theatre in London but that had more to do with the fact that Ewan McGregor was the lead actor. So the impact All Is True had on me was quite a surprise.
The story begins in 1613 after Shakespeare’s (Kenneth Branagh) special Globe Theatre is burnt down, prompting a return home for the devastated playwright. Once home though it’s clear that the family has been coping well in his absence. In fact so well he is treated like a guest, particularly by his wife Anne Hathaway (Judi Dench).
Shakespeare spends his time in the garden and obsessively reading pieces written by his Hamnet, a protege worthy of his fathers name, if only he were still alive. But all is not as it seems, as is usually the case with anything touched by Shakespeare.
All Is True is an exploration of family, grief, truth and self reflection. The movie also explores the price of success, and the value of life. In Shakespeare’s case this price was missing time with his family, a message surely close to the actors own hearts.
Branagh and Dench both put in masterful performances and it is an absolute delight to watch them together. If that’s not enough for you Ian McKellen adds another dimension as Henry Wriothesley.
The action takes place in gloomy, candle lit rooms that gives you the sense that you’re ease-dropping on private conversations.
It’s not often a movie leaves me numb, All Is True did just that. The movie was a labor of love for Branagh and the underlying theme of choosing work over family makes you wonder if it serves as a personal love letter to his own family.
The intimacy makes you feel you could be watching a stage play instead of movie. I’d love to know how they achieved the candle-lit glow.
I’d completely forgotten it was written by Ben Elton, such a clever man.
For more information go to Luna Cinema