"Among Shakespeare scholars, the idea [that his plays were written by another person] has roughly the same currency as the faked moon landing does among astronauts." sourceOh, I don't particularly give a damn if the story is true or not. It's the legend of a person that is important today, not what they actually did. Thomas Jefferson was a great writer and statesman. Is it important that he owned slaves, farmed pot, and had an affair with one of his slave servants? King Arthur is almost certainly a myth, but the example we get from the stories about him serve as a good inspiration about "proper" behavior. What is Shakespeare today other than a name attached to a collection of plays? Does it matter if they were really written by Christopher Marlowe, Sir Francis Bacon, or Earl Edward de Vere?
The movie is pretty good. Don't go looking for a good action movie. This is a tale of intrigue. After discovering some underhanded dealings in the royal court, Earl Edward de Vere figures that arms or simply trying to reveal the plot would be ineffective. He approaches the problem with the philosophy that the pen is mightier than the sword and writes a new play that tells of the plot disguised as a comedic fantasy. But, being an Earl, writing plays would be an embarrassment to his house and family. He passes the play off to a good, but modestly known playwright with the intent that the playwright put his own name on this and all of the Earl's plays. But the playwright has qualms about this. He wants to be known for his own work, not the Earl's. So, when the crowd cries for the anonymous author, and nobody else steps up, the actor Will Shakespeare steps out and takes a bow.
At this point the movie is already two flashbacks deep. And it keeps going. The movie jumps between three major time periods with lesser flashback of months instead of years or centuries being put in here and there. This takes for a movie that is already filled with more characters and plotting than most people can follow without a flow chart and makes it even harder to follow.
People already familiar with Shakespeare's plays will enjoy the film and seeing how events in the Earl's life went on to become elements in his plays. The least of which being the relationship between the Earl and his plays as another Romeo and Juliet type story. People not familiar with the plays may also enjoy the movie, but they will be missing something.
I'm not sure I'll get it on DVD. I would, however, like to see it again just to set a few plot points straight in my own head.
I do recommend this movie, but only to people who are in to this kind of movie. That's kind of a stupid statement, but I'm not sure how else to put it. Fans of the Transformers movies aren't likely to want to see "Anonymous". People who frequent independent theaters, on the other hand, should enjoy the movie a lot.