As it seems only the British can do, there are 2 scenes in "All Is True" that are master classes in acting which would be expected from Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench and Ian McKellen but a much younger actress, Kathryn Wilder, gives no quarter in being their equal in one of the most important scenes of the movie.
In the particular scene I am referring to William Shakespeare (Branagh), his wife Anne (Dench) and one their daughters Judith (Wilder) are exposing family truths as the screenwriter Ben Elton imagines they would speak yet bringing it in to today's world. When I had time to think about it later I could just imagine a theatre audience seeing it on stage in a play written today and stunning them.
The other scene, between Shakespeare and Henry Wriothesley, the Earl of Southampton, (McKellen) looks into the supposedly love affair between them when both were young men and Shakespeare wrote his sonnets. At one point, without changing a thing, Shakespeare starts talking by reciting one of his sonnets and the Earl recites it back to him. It is as if the two men, not acting, are having a conversation expressing their feelings. Neither sex nor nudity is involved yet you believe you are seeing and hearing both!
While very little is known of Shakespeare's home life, such as the death of his son, Elton presents a plausible story of what may have taken place for the 3 years that Shakespeare returned home to family life after spending most of his life alone in London at the Globe Theatre which had burned down in 1613.
The only fault, which made it slow moving for only a 100 minute film, is the director's holding on to many unnecessary and lingering nature scenes with the director being Kenneth Branagh.
"All Is True" might not all be true but it is certainly worth seeing for the acting alone, which shouldn't be but will probably be forgotten at award time.
The year is 1613, Shakespeare is acknowledged as the greatest writer of the age. But disaster strikes when his renowned Globe Theatre burns to the ground, and devastated, Shakespeare returns to Stratford, where he must face a troubled past and a neglected family. 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 husband and father. His very personal search for the truth uncovers secrets and lies within a family at war.