Roland Emmerich (2011)

12A Certificate


Our Score
Director Roland Emmerich, better known for blockbusters such as Independence Day and 2012, abandons over-the-top special effects for this meticulous and seductive period drama. At its heart is the question of who really wrote Shakespeare's works, and a clever opening monologue from Derek Jacobi guides us into an Elizabethan world of intrigue and danger. William Shakespeare (Rafe Spall) is portrayed as an imbecilic actor, while the Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans) is shown to be the man truly holding the quill. But the Bard's popular plays cause sedition, and the film shows how Queen Elizabeth (beautifully played by both Joely Richardson and her mother, Vanessa Redgrave) struggles to quash her rivals while striving for personal happiness. The derring-do is easy to follow, even as it grows more complicated and dark, leading to several astonishing revelations by the film's end. Anonymous is poignant and shocking by turns, while maintaining an entertaining pace. Amid the stellar cast, Ifans, in particular, excels, and the movie also boasts amazing production, lighting and costume design.


The earl of Oxford, a courtier to Elizabeth I, is unable to put his name to the poetry and plays he has written, so allows a commoner named William Shakespeare to take the credit. He endeavours to keep his secret hidden as he is drawn into political intrigue in the royal court. Counterfactual period thriller, starring Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave and Rafe Spall.

Cast & Crew

Earl of Oxford Rhys Ifans
Queen Elizabeth I Vanessa Redgrave
Princess Elizabeth Tudor Joely Richardson
William Cecil David Thewlis
Earl of Southampton Xavier Samuel
Ben Jonson Sebastian Armesto
William Shakespeare Rafe Spall
Robert Cecil Edward Hogg
Young Earl of Oxford Jamie Campbell Bower
Christopher Marlowe Trystan Gravelle
Anne De Vere Helen Baxendale
Condell Mark Rylance
Prologue Derek Jacobi
Director Roland Emmerich
see more

Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Sony PicturesGuidance: violence, sex scenes, swearingAvailable on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 28 Oct 2011