About the film
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Actors: Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, Ian McKellanDirector Kenneth Branagh and screen writer Ben Elton present a multi-faceted and complex rendering of Shakespeare as a human being: a man with great creative strength, capable of sublime wisdom in his work, but an ordinarily flawed individual often struggling to apply those insights in his own life.
After fire destroys the Globe Theatre during a 1613 performance of ‘All is True’ (known today as ‘Henry VIII’) and, in turn, Shakespeare’s ability to write, he returns home to Stratford-upon-Avon to reconcile with his neglected household. During this part of the film Branagh takes care to depict Shakespeare as a man distinct from the giant of English literature that he was and still is – here he is the simple gardener, the churchgoer, the likeable family man.
Haunted by the death of his only son Hamnet, he struggles to mend the broken relationships with his wife and daughters. In so doing, he is ruthlessly forced to examine his own failings as a husband and father. His very personal search for the truth uncovers secrets and lies within a family at war.
ALL IS TRUE is a labor of love for Branagh, who has been fascinated with the life of Shakespeare since his teens. He has assembled a troupe of Shakespeareans, ranging from legends like Judi Dench and Ian McKellen, to longtime veterans of Branagh’s plays and films, to a young generation of actors drawn from his theatre company. The exchange between McKellen & Branagh is such a pleasure to watch and a major highlight of the film.
Beautifully photographed by Zac Nicholson using only natural light, gives the film a lovely lowkey feel. scenes are set in either idyllic, sun-drenched exteriors or interiors lit only by the faint glimmer of candlelight gives it all a touch of reality.
Told with warmth and wry humor, ALL IS TRUE is 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.