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A family drama, a detective story, and a quiet reflection on a life dedicated to art. Ultimately, it is the uplifting tale of a man who journeys from darkness and loss to a renewed appreciation of the richness and value of life, allowing him to play out his final act in peace.
Roger EbertFull Review Good "I never let the truth get in the way of a good story,” Shakespeare tells us. Purists may have a field day with "All Is True,” and it does have a tendency to lag, but I found myself thinking about it days after I'd seen it.
Slant MagazineFull Review Good ...an unfussy, intimate chamber drama that's fearless in confronting the attitudes of its exalted subject. By film's end, Branagh suggests that the characters Shakespeare became known for may have resulted from genius, but it was a genius borne of his profound understanding of his human frailty.
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In 1613, after a devastating fire destroys the Globe Theatre during the first
Shakespeare's play "All is True" ("Life of Henry VIII"), a distraught
Branagh) returns to Stratford. As he saw his family infrequently during his two
in London, his wife Anne (Judi Dench) and daughters Judith (Kathryn Wilder) and
Wilson) are surprised, but hardly pleased, to hear he now intends to stay in
who is haunted by the death at age 11 of Judith's twin brother Hamnet (Sam
Ellis), attempts to
ease his grief by planting a memorial garden for his son.
The simmering tensions in the family that have been
Shakespeare's absence, gradually surface. Anne, who felt humiliated by her
display of affection in his sonnets, is not pleased when the man who may have
inspired them, and
to whom they are extravagantly dedicated, the Earl of Southampton (Ian McKellen),
comes to pay
a visit. Judith resents what she feels is her father's strong emotional
preference for her dead twin
Hamnet over her, and her anger is only magnified by the guilt she feels as the
Shakespeare's relationship with his elder daughter Susanna is more cordial,
but the relationship is
upset when she is accused of being unfaithful to her husband, which leads to a
very public trial.
As the son of a once prestigious local man who fell into disgrace, Shakespeare
threatened by Susanna's scandal, as he prizes the elevated social standing in
Stratford he has
worked so long to achieve. He also has lingering questions about the
his son's death and is driven to find answers.