Is Shakespeare rolling in his grave? He should be. This film portrays him as a fraud who never wrote a single play. So who DID pen all those Shakespeare classics?
In this completely engrossing and entertaining film, we’re catapulted back into 16th century Elizabethan England and all the intrigue in the Tudor court.
The “Virgin Queen” Elizbeth is anything but, and periodically has to disappear for months at a time to give birth to illegitimate children. But there’s one thing that she loves as much as a handsome man — that’s a fantastically written play.
So who is writing all the Shakespearean verses that have all London engrossed including the Queen?
Anonymous proposes that it’s not the illiterate actor called William Shakespeare who’s laying claim to all the works.
Instead it’s the brilliant, cultured, and educated Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans), who as an extraordinarily handsome young man romances Queen Elizabeth and gets her pregnant. Then is forcibly separated from her by his nasty guardian, William Cecil, who is also the Queen’s chief advisor.
Oxford, obsessively, uncontrollably writes play after play, but because of his noble status, he must hide his work. Plus, he’s been forced into an arranged marriage with a prissy disapproving wife and both she and her puritanical father , Cecil, the Queen’s advisor, believe his play writing is the work of the devil.
That’s why he comes up with the idea of giving his plays to a common playwright, Ben Jonson, who then gives them to the actor William Shakespeare who publicly stages them and claims them as his own.
There’s lots of political intrigue in the court of Elizabeth I and a major battle of wills over who will ultimately be her successor. Since she has never married, there are no legitimate children to inherit her throne.
The Earl of Oxford uses his plays to try and influence the outcome of who will inherit Elizabeth’s throne, as well. But do he and Elizabeth still love each other? There’s an explosive revelation towards the end of the film.
I guarantee that after watching Anonymous, you too will seriously doubt that William Shakespeare really did write the works attributed to his name!