All Is True

Slightly soapy tribute

After London’s Globe Theatre burned down in 1613, William Shakespeare (director Kenneth Branagh) never wrote another word. He went back to his neglected family and a troubled past in his hometown of Stratford and started a garden.

I’m not sure how successful this attempt is to portray the final years in the life of the world’s greatest playwright. Or indeed how necessary it is to speculate about the Bard in what amounts to a beautifully filmed and well acted soap opera. Judi Dench plays his long-suffering wife, Anne, and Ian McKellen stops by to liven things up as the Earl of Southampton.

Sags a bit in spots, flashes brilliant in others; but throughout it’s intelligent and imbued with a love of its subject. Worth seeing, but perhaps it’s best to remember the man as we have been for 500 years: through his works.

(101 min)