All Is True Review
Sony Pictures Releasing
What’s It About?
The twilight years of William Shakespeare as he fades into retirement and returns home, only to unearth a terrible family secret.
Who’s In It?
Kenneth Branagh (Henry V, Wallander, & more recently Murder On The Orient Express)
Judi Dench (Shakespeare In Love, Notes On A Scandal, & more recently Skyfall)
Other notables include:
Ian McKellen (Gods & Monsters, Lord Of The Rings, & more recently Beauty And The Beast)
Kathryn Wilder (Murder On The Orient Express, Frontier)
Director: Kenneth Branagh (Hamlet, Thor, & more recently Murder On The Orient Express)
For those familiar with Ben Elton’s comedy Upstart Crow, starring David Mitchell, they may have been expecting a more upbeat and raucous film from that same author. It would be fair to say that All Is True is certainly not that, though it is not without some humorous moments.
As depicted through his garden, Shakespeare is in the autumn of his years - basking in the glory of his remarkable career, but affected by the burning of his Globe theatre and the death of his son Hamnet some 17 years before.
His family, acerbic wife Anne and two daughters Judith and Susanna, do not seem overjoyed to have this stranger return to them, and there is unease and general awkwardness throughout. After all, this is a man who seemingly abandoned them for the riches of London, and returns now to mourn a son that they said goodbye almost two decades ago. Furthermore, secrets have also been kept from Shakespeare which are in danger of being unearthed.
As you would expect, there are sublime performances from three of the foremost Shakespearean actors of recent times, namely Judi Dench, Ian McKellen and Kenneth Branagh himself, including a wonderful, emotional fireside chat between the two men. But there is also considerable support elsewhere from the likes of Lydia Wilson and Kathryn Wilder as his two daughters.
Nicely shot, with an emotional, occasionally funny, and at times overly sentimental script, Branagh and writer Ben Elton have nonetheless delivered a thoroughly entertaining, intriguing and thoughtful film.
In A Nutshell:
A fascinating, melancholy and occasionally over sentimental window into Shakespeare’s final years.
A little over-sentimental at times
Certificate: 12 / 12A