ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – W – All is True (2018) Movie Review

This is under W because we are looking at William Shakespeare

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Writer: Ben Elton (Screenplay)

Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Nonso Anozie, Lolita Chakrabarti, Darryl Clark, Kathryn Wilder, Lydia Wilson

Plot: A look at the final days in the life of renowned playwright William Shakespeare


Tagline – In 1613 William Shakespeare Retired. He Still Had One Last Story To Tell – His Own.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Not as Entertaining as it Should be

Story: All is True starts after William Shakespeare (Branagh) has retired from writing plays to spend time with his wife Anne (Dench) and his adult daughters the married Susanna (Wilson) and the spinster Judith (Wilder), while dealing with his own grief of his son’s early death decades earlier.

As William is dealing with his own problems, he must address the problems his daughters might be going through and after a visit from an old friend the Earl of Southampton (McKellen), he starts to realize his own life mistakes.

Thoughts on All is True

Characters – William Shakespeare has retired from the playwriting industry, he moves back home to deal with his own personal problems, the long-time repressed grief of losing his son and the reality his daughters are not living the lives he had wished for them. Anne is the wife of William, she has accepted his life away on the big stage, raising their children, preparing for his return, she is happy to have him around and will always stick up for their daughters. Earl the Southampton is an old friend of William’s whose reputation could slander the name of William’s however much he disrespects the people around him. Judith is the oldest daughter who has never got close to marrying, she doesn’t want to and has lived with the reality that she might not be as loved as her deceased twin brother.

PerformancesKenneth Branagh in the leading role does everything right without hitting the levels we know he could see from him, while Judi Dench is flawless without needing to do much. Ian McKellen likewise is wonderful in his small role, it is Kathryn Wilder and Lydia Wilson that do the most to make names for themselves in this film as the daughters.

StoryThe story here follows the retirement era of William Shakespeare as he tries to put his personal life back together, deal with the problems that he has seen them face to make sure his daughters have the life they deserve, using his words to make any situation seem more important than the last. This is meant to show how William Shakespeare gave up most of his personal life to stay in the limelight of the theatre and that he never knew the truth about what happened to his son’s young death. We do see plenty of the references to how men only saw women as property to pass between them instead of looking for happiness, which William did want to see changed only for not much to have changed in his lifetime. In the end this isn’t the most interesting look at somebody who was a major part of history and you will end up not being as engrossed as this story as most of his work.

BiopicShowing the later years of the great writers life is something new, it is interesting to see just how much could have changed if he wasn’t the famous writer like we know him as.

SettingsThe film is set in William’s hometown of Strafford Upon Avon, where it shows us that behind his success, he wasn’t afraid to stay within a small town.


Scene of the Movie – The truth about Hamlet.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It just seems slower than it should be.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting, only not engrossing story about the greatest play write of all time, we focus on his life away from the stage, which is the least interesting side of his successful life.

Overall: The Wrong Focus.

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