All is True is a fictionalised biopic, a mediative tribute to the great William Shakespeare written by Ben Elton for the BBC to commemorate the Bard’s 400th birthday.

In 1613 the Globe Theatre burnt down, due to a cannon that misfired during a production of All is True (later called Henry V111).

Shakespeare never wrote another play. He gave up his career as a writer and went back to Stratford-Upon-Avon. Not much is known about the last three years of his life.

Haunted by the death of his 11-year-old son Hamnet and his neglect of his much older wife Anne Hathaway (Judi Dench) and their two daughters (Kathryn Wilder and Lydia Wilson), he is forced to deal with the difference between being the most revered writer of his time in London, and retirement in the country.

He takes to making a garden in memory of his son.

The film is directed by the multi-talented Shakespearean aficionado Kenneth Branagh, who also takes the part of Shakespeare. He is almost unrecognizable with beard, wig and a prominent false nose.

Ian McKellen (with an amazing blond wig) plays Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southhampton (who could have been a previous lover) and there is a memorable scene during a fireside conversation between the two men, interpreting the 29thsonnet.

Beautifully filmed in a Tudor mansion with the warm glow of candlelit interiors, lovely landscapes and a cast of great actors the film opened to mixed reviews. It is slow to start but most audiences should enjoy this thoughtful look at what life might have been like for Shakespeare in his last years.

101 minutes.

Now showing at Luna, Leederville. Luna SX, Fremantle. Windsor Theatre, Nedlands.

Watch the trailer…

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