This movie recounts the final days of the life of renowned playwright William Shakespeare. The outstanding cast includes: Kenneth Branagh as William Shakespeare, Lolita Chakrabarti as Stratford Landlady Lena, Jack Colgrave Hirst as Tom Quiney, Doug Colling as Douglas, Eleanor de Rohan as Margaret Wheeler, Judi Dench as Anne Hathaway, Phil Dunster as Henry, Freya Durkan as Young Judith Shakespeare, Flora Easton as Young Susanna Hall, Sam Ellis as Hamnet Shakespeare, Ian Hearnshaw as Townsman, Cassandra Hodges as Townswoman, Gerard Horan as Ben Jonson, Matt Jessup as Frank and Ian McKellen as Henry Wriothesley.
Was see an image of a man. Then text says that "In 1613 there was a performance by William Shakespeare". During this period of time, William Shakespeare (played excellently by Kenneth Branagh) drinks ale at a pub. He is very well dressed (for this time period hehe) and wears a cape. He talks to a young man who recognises him and also writes. Shakespeare goes home. He hasn't been there in a long while. His wife Anne (played superbly by the experienced Judi Dench) says he is more of a guest because he's never there.
"Shakespeare looks at a beautiful river landscape. These stunning picturesque landscapes are seen through out this movie. They are usually accompanied by long silences. This helps create a peaceful contemplative mood"Shakespeare then goes to dinner with Anne. Shakespeare wants to build a garden for Hamnet, his son who has passed away. He tells his wife that he compares baking bread to creating a play. Shakespeare digs up roots. He deeply mourns his son Hamnet. As for his relationship with Anne, his wife, they appear distant from eachother.
"'I've lived so long in imaginary worlds that I've lost sight of what is real' Shakespeare says to Susanna (played well by Flora Easton), his daughter. This is one of the many beautiful words spoken by Shakepeare through out the movie"Shakespeare recalls his son with Susanna "I was the proudest father in the Kingdom". Anne says he has to go to church. There is man there that tries to intimidate him about his fathers pue (seat at the church). Shakepeare dismisses him with some words. His words have a bite to them.
"Then we cut to visuals of a village, markets and people buying produce etc. These scenes feel very authentic to the era. In fact the whole movie has exceptional set design. It is a great period piece for this reason"Susanna buys a dress and the dress maker flirts with her. She says "I am a married woman". Shakespeare then chats to Anne and Judith (his other daughter played well by Freya Durkan) by the fireplace. There is a slow pace to this movie and there are long silences that allow you to digest the period's scenery and understand the conversations that just went on.
Shakespeare is chatting about his will and his estate. At church a man says that Susanna was caught cheating with the dressmaker! She goes to trial.
"Shakespeare is usually a very calm man. The type of man that thinks things through. But then a man in the street tries to insult him about what happened with Susanna. Then Shakespeare recounts one of his more intense plays in front of the man and he intimidates him hehehe. This is the other side to Shakespeare"
Shakespeare is then in the garden and he sees Hamnet in a vision. It's quite sad. He misses his son. Great acting by Branagh. Shakespeare argues with Judith. She says she knows what he thinks of woman. That there place is at home.
"Then a young man visits Shakespeare. He asks him a few questions about writing. Shakespeare responds to him 'If you want to be a writer consider the content of your own soul'. Then Shakespeare has had enough of this conversation and wants to be left in private 'If you can't save my hollihogs (plants) then please leave me mourn the dead, cheerio' HAHAHA! There are only a few laugh out loud moments like this but they're well worth it!"Judith goes to a bar and he flirts with the salesmen there. Shakespeare then speaks with Anne about Sonnets that were released illegally.
"His wife Anne says 'All these years worried about your reputation, have u ever once considered mine?'. She is bitter towards him after years of neglect perhaps whilst he was travelling the country. Wonderful acting by Judi Dench"Trough out the whole movie, these side characters have a big impact. All I can say is what a cast!
"A Lord called Henry Wriothesley (played excellently by Ian McKellen) visits Shakespeare. Henry arrives in town says to a man close by Shakespeare's house "I'm here to see the greatest man in the Kingdom". Henry greatly admires Shakespeare. Superb acting by Ian McKellen"Henry tells Shakespeare that a lot of his contempories are dead. He says it was "booze, passion and sex!" hehe. Henry says to him "You have your verses and your poetry... beautiful poetry". He continues "I have grown old as you wrote in your sonnets... you bastard" hehe. These words are beautifully spoken by McKellen.
Shakespeare then recounts a sonnet to Hnery. He says it with a lot of passion. The sonnet ends with "...that then I scorn to change my state with kings". Henry says to Shakespeare "As a poet u have no equal". I must say the set design in the houses of this movie was oustanding. Judith, his daughter, says to his father "why didn't the Lord bring his wife?". Judith then asks Shakespeare why he is still mourning Hamnet.
"Then Shakespeare gets really angry at both Judith and Anne 'We lost our boy!'. He also wants recognition for all the writing and hard work he's done 'With my genius... I made wealth for this household!!'. Like I said Shakespeare is usually calm but he can get ferocious"
Judith then admits that it was she who wrote those poems and not Hamnet. Shakespeare had believed his young son Hamnet was a naturally gifted writer as previously he had presented him with poems. Anne admits this is true. This makes Shakespeare confused and angry. Then Judith gets upset and tears up the poems. It's quite a sad moment. Judith runs off. This is an important part of this movie.
Then Anne says to Shakespeare "Remember our wedding day... me older, you 19" says wife. Shakespeare then says sorry to Judith. Judith says about Hamnet that "the wrong twin died". She says she wrote those poems but she doesn't want to write again. Shakespeare says he could teach her. Then he says to Anne "Im glad that Hamlet didnt write the poems... I feel like I known him better". You really feel for Shakespeare at this point. He wasn't there when his son died and he'll never live it down.
Judith then storms into Tom Quiney's drinking quarters and then says seductively "I will drink that red wine with you Tom Quiney" hehehe. Together they go to his bar and make love. But then we find out that a woman called Margaret is now pregnant by Tom Quiney.
Shakespeare then prepares his Will. He leaves a piece of furniture for his daughter Judith. Then there is a wedding between Judith and Tom.
"Shakespeare says 'Although I don't have a son I have two beautiful daughters and one day I shall have a grandson'. Simple but beautiful words"
Judith and Tom make love. Shakespeare tends to his garden. Judith tells her dad she is pregnant. "Woohooooo" says Shakespeare... "Mr Quinney!!!!" he says HAHAHA! A messenger arrives and says that Margeret (who was pregnant by Tom) and her baby died.
"Then a stranger on the street tries to intimidate Shakespeare by saying that his daughter is a disgrace. But he fights back! He says that he has mounted plays and organised thousands of audiences in the country and hence who does he think he's talking to! Once again we see the humble Shakespeare firing back at someone hehe"
Shakespeare then goes to church and asks the priest for the page that was written on the day of his sons Hamnet's funeral. 'People ask me how I've written so much... I was always in the company of my son' says Shakespeare in a telling scene. Shakespeare sends for Judith. He tells her he will visit Hamlets grave today. He also doesnt believe that Hamnet died from the plague.
Shakespeare returns from Hamnet's grave. Shakespeare then says "Judith, Anne please tell me how did my son died?". Then Judith tells him the truth that Hamnet went to his favourite lake and drowned, he didnt know how to swim. Judith was jealous because she had to work the kitchens because she was a girl and that Hamnet went to school. Anne had said to the community that he died of the plague, it was a blatant lie to cover up the truth.
"Shakespeare runs outside and visits the lake, he sees a vision of his son across the lake. The vision says "You finished it, my story is done... the hours of life is rounded with the sleep". Shakespeare wakes up by the lake. What an impactful scene"
Another Lord visits Shakespeare and says "Both daughters are caught up in a scandal". He continues and says "You have two daughters that love you and a wife... You returned home... how many people can say that?". Then he lists famous people that have died alone. He then says "You've written the best plays... Id say you've gotten what you've deserved". I liked this conversation.
Shakespears garden is now complete and looks beautiful.
"The daughters present the marriage license of their parents to Shakespeare. They both sign it. Shakespeare gives Judith a special pen knife as a gift. Shakespeare recites a sonnet. The family is together again, they hug. It's a beautiful scene"Text on the screen says that William Shakespeare died in 1616. At his funeral the girls and his wife recite poems. Anne died 9 years later. Judith had three boys.
William Shakespeare had many famous literary works including plays and poems.
"What is fascinating about this movie is that it shows that William Shakespeare himself was a very intriguing person. I enjoyed the relationships he had with other characters in this film. The most memorable were his relationships with his wife and daughters"Kenneth Branagh was unrecognisable in this role! But it was Branagh's acting and not his make up that stole the show. What a powerhouse performance. To top it of Kenneth Branagh directed this fine film.
He played Shakespeare as quietly spoken. But occassionally Shakespeare's got angry at people and he made use of his advanced english skills! hehe. I enjoyed that side of Branagh's performance. Some of the conversations in this film were also very beautiful and poetic. What an intriguing 1hr 41min.