“One Can't Love The Moon After Having Seen The Sun.”
“Voice?! You Have No Voice!”
“To See Or Not To See, The Greatest Literary Conspiracy Of All Time Define In Perfection, Roland Emmerich & John Orloff Triumph The World's Greatest Playwright Is The World's Grandest Fool Delicious... Isn't It? Like A Greek Tragedy....”
Scholarly debate about the Shakespeare Authorship Question has little to do with this tale told by an idio...syncratic moviemaker up to little more than mischief.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
A vulgar prank on the English literary tradition, a travesty of British history and a brutal insult to the human imagination. Apart from that, it's not bad.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
It is entertainingly bizarre: like seeing a whole film asserting that Salieri must have written the music attributed to that moronic yobbo Mozart.
Peter Bradshaw - Guardian [UK]
Roland Emmerich's meticulously crafted and often well-acted expose of the "real" William Shakespeare is shocking only in that it is rather good.
Damon Wise - Guardian [UK]
Dubious history aside, Anonymous is a well-acted yarn that also is a tribute to the unstoppable force of art -- even if it implies that only an aristocrat could create it.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
Don't let the frilly costumes, courtly language and historical pretense fool you: "Anonymous" is still a Roland Emmerich movie - a blessing when it comes to vigor and a curse when it comes to subtlety, proportion or sense.
Ann Hornaday - Washington Post
Roland Emmerich destroys things for a living. Why not the reputation of a man who lacked the imagination to blow up the Sistine Chapel?
Wesley Morris - Boston Globe
This is high camp, nothing more.
Nick Pinkerton - Village Voice
Though the cast is energetic and the intrigues diverting, you'll have to distance yourself from reality to enjoy so much outlandish scheming.
Elizabeth Weitzman - New York Daily News
In a movie that rings false at every turn, Ms. Redgrave's Elizabeth is truly and infallibly regal.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
The digitally wrought period settings are simply gorgeous.
Amy Biancolli - Houston Chronicle
The very qualities that fuel the historical hokum of Anonymous -- over-the-top royal intrigue and incest, violent literary backstabbing, frothing conspiracy -- also happen to make for wild entertainment.
Chris Vognar - Dallas Morning News
Audiences may chuckle. Stratfordians, prepare for conniptions.
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
Even though Emmerich is working with ostensibly more refined material here, the ham-handed touch of the man who gave us The Day After Tomorrow... is felt quite heavily throughout.
Glenn Kenny - MSN Movies
A well-polished cowpat that will confuse and bore those who know nothing about Shakespeare and incense those who know almost anything.
David Edelstein - New York Magazine
The more far-fetched the idea, it seems, the more strenuous the effort to pass it off as authentic.
David Denby - New Yorker
A splendid experience: the dialogue, the acting, the depiction of London, the lust, jealousy and intrigue.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
"Anonymous" is ridiculous, and like Oliver Stone's "JFK" it sells its political conspiracy theories by weight and by volume. But dull, it's not.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
This is irresistible as self-knowing camp: the players ham it up in high fashion and the script crams at least one lurid revelation into every scene.
Ben Sachs - Chicago Reader
Anonymous is no more or less far-fetched than Emmerich's prior efforts. But it is much, much more confusing.
Carrie Rickey - Philadelphia Inquirer
So disappointingly dopey that it's unworthy of anyone's time.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Anonymous may not convince anyone, but it certainly should entertain them.
Tom Long - Detroit News
Historians will quibble with the timing and accuracy of a lot of the film, and you know what? Let them. The rest of us can enjoy the performances and the sumptuous look of the movie, which is a lot more satisfying, anyway.
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
Historians are already calling Anonymous preposterous humbug, but I found it a complex cornucopia of ideas and panache. You go away sated.
Rex Reed - New York Observer
A handsomely staged and decidedly straight-ahead costume drama under Roland Emmerich's nearly CGI-free direction.
Robert Koehler - Variety
"Anonymous'' is a thoroughly entertaining load of eye candy with solid performances, even if John Orloff's exposition-heavy script practically requires a concordance to follow at times.
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
Leave it to a German to blitzkrieg the Immortal Bard and the Virgin Queen in one sitting.
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
Anonymous is so dubious in its intent and so tangled in its execution, it might have worked better as a comedy like Notting Hill or The Boat That Rocked, where Ifans could agreeably play the fool as before.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
Emmerich takes the story at face value and delivers a film unlike any of his others. That is to say, a boring one.
Eric Kohn - indieWIRE
Apart from these few light moments, Anonymous is a case of ingenuity wasted on an unintelligent enterprise.
Liam Lacey - Globe and Mail
By attempting to weave the fancies of the Oxfordians into a coherent narrative, Anonymous does highlight the over-the-top melodrama inherent in anti-Stratfordianism itself.
Laura Miller - Salon.com
What's disappointing about Anonymous is that it isn't dumb enough. Rather than plunging merrily ahead with its fanciful counternarrative, the movie keeps stopping to actually, seriously make its case -- to posit and explain and persuade.
Dana Stevens - Slate
File this one in the category of entertaining historical fiction. There are facts here, but one must possess more than a passing familiarity with history to be able to spot them.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
Surprisingly, this is easily director Roland Emmerich's best film.
Kirk Honeycutt - Hollywood Reporter
As the initial whiff of scandal eventually gives way to great, repetitive blubbering about the brilliance and significance of Shakespeare's works, "Anonymous" ultimately feels like much ado about nothing.
Christy Lemire - Associated Press
Oliver Stone's JFK looks reasonable compared to this.
Mary F. Pols - TIME Magazine
As the Bard probably would not say, Anonymous is some crazy shit.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
It's Shakespeare as B-movie, if you will, or to borrow from the bard, a boffo blast, which I'm pretty sure is from either "King Lear" or "Hamlet."
Betsy Sharkey - Los Angeles Times
Roland Emmerich takes a questionable literary controversy and deftly forms it into an Elizabethan political drama in the Shakespeare-themed 'Anonymous'.
Amy Curtis - We Got This Covered
Bad history beautifully done.
Roger Moore - McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Don't let the fact that it's different - or unadulterated bullshit of the highest order - put you off a story that, in truth, is more interesting than it is wholly entertaining or accurate.
Ali Gray - TheShiznit.co.uk
It may be one of the signs of the apocalypse, but thanks to a well-written screenplay, spot-on performances, and a fantastic production design, Emmerich has finally made a great film.
Jeff Beck - Examiner.com
Leonard Maltin - ReelzChannel.com
Roland Emmerich's lurid, pulpy approach isn't subtle, but it suits the material, since this is presented as a controversial expose.
Eric Melin - Scene-Stealers.com
Fairly absorbing in an alternately classy and salaciously trashy way that operates not too unlike Emmerich's popcorn entertainers.
Michael Dequina - TheMovieReport.com
Richard Knight - Knight at the Movies
Es saludable que el director Roland Emmerich haya decidido cambiar de genero; Anonimo es lo mas interesante que haya hecho en toda su carrera... lo cual, pensandolo bien, no es un gran merito.
Enrique Buchichio - Uruguay Total
This movie is lurid fun that is much smarter than it has any business being.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky - Ebert Presents At The Movies
Calling Anonymous Roland Emmerich's masterpiece ranks high on the list of most meaningless claims of 2011. But it's true.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Any hope of Emmerich and writer Orloff putting together a coherent argument is destroyed by muddled narrative.
Paul Scantlebury - Flicks.co.nz
Anonymous premises Edward's manhood partly on his sexual prowess and partly on his poetry, but it loses sight of the latter's allusions and intrigues, and instead falls in love with its own most obvious sensations.
Cynthia Fuchs - PopMatters
O Germanos megalokatastrofologos prepei na peripoioyntan th senariakh idea toy John Orloff kapoy gia 8 xronia, kai se ayta h arxikh eksetash mias logias ypotheshs, phre emprepws Tudor-ianes diastaseis eksoysiastikhs intrigkas
Joseph Proimakis - Movies for the Masses
Handsome, inconsequential "investigation" into the political and theatrical life of Elizabethan England makes a mystery of history.
Kelly Vance - East Bay Express
What's distressing isn't the film's plodding incoherence or wild-eyed credulousness but its misplaced priority: It suggests that what's most interesting about this writer we call Shakespeare is not the genius of his words but the puzzle of his identity.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
It didn't have me rethinking history, but for those two hours, it was entertaining enough. I don't know if that will be enough for Emmerich and this "What if?"
Jeff Bayer - The Scorecard Review
It's easy to get lost in the facial-hair thicket of actors, earls, lords, Roberts, Thomases and Cecils, and the movie's jarring leaps across the years often make things even more challenging to follow.
Neil Pond - American Profile
Call it the anti-Shakespeare in Love. Call it the more cultured cousin to Inglourious Basterds. Just don't call Anonymous a fact-based story.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
A wonderful hypothetical about the identity of William Shakespeare, Anonymous is incredibly credible, a story of intrigue and facades.
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
Dave White - Movies.com
As a nail-biting thriller of court intrigue, lies, and rebellion, I would be forced to admit that, yes, Lisy Christl's costume designs are really pretty good. I'm drawing a blank on anything else.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
Bereft of comedy, Anonymous is the cinematic equivalent of limp celery. It's crying out for a crisp rewrite from the Bard himself but alas, poor yawners, all we get is Fakespeare.
Graham Young - Birmingham Mail
Will Shakespeare, whose words shine on, bright and brave, Is turning o'er with laughter in his grave.
Judith Newmark - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Perhaps there is an element of truth in this tale but director Roland Emmerich makes it very hard to believe with this muddled story.
Matthew Toomey - ABC Radio Brisbane
Anonymous is earnest, high-camp and regularly ridiculous, but it's also a fun and gripping adventure for lovers of stagecraft or Tudor mystery.
Rima Sabina Aouf - MovieFIX
What sinks it is the pervading sense that Emmerich wants us to take it seriously.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
Though far-fetched, this celebration of storytelling is an exhilarating and visually lavish thrill ride.
Michael Simms - FILMINK (Australia)
The loud, overwrought Anonymous is an affront to the richness and beauty of Shakespeare's work -- no matter who really wrote it.
Josh Bell - Las Vegas Weekly
Shakespeare's work proves that imagination is more important than fact - Anonymous stumbles badly while trying the opposite approach.
Graham Young - Birmingham Post
Overlong, labyrinthine and most certainly speculative in its history, "Anonymous" benefits from a central conceit that is too intriguing to be dismissed.
Jon Niccum - Kansas City Star
The film presents an interesting argument, but didn't entirely convince me.
David Stratton - At the Movies (Australia)
Though Anonymous is historical hogwash of the highest order, it is never less than highly entertaining.
Leigh Paatsch - Herald Sun (Australia)
I felt absolutely drawn along in this film. I had a really boisterous, Elizabethan good time.
Margaret Pomeranz - At the Movies (Australia)
Anonymous is fun -- if you take the anti-Shakespearean tale as events set in an unreal, alternate universe.
Lawrence Toppman - Charlotte Observer
'Anonymous' a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.
James Verniere - Boston Herald
Roland Emmerich is the doyen of historically inaccurate disasterpieces, the pre-eminent cinematic misinterpreter of scientific theories, and the gullible go-to-guy when it comes to half-baked conspiracy thrillers. Anonymous is [his] 'perfect storm'.
Simon Miraudo - Quickflix
It's geeky forgettable fun for Shakespeare nerds with a suitable sense of the absurd, but possibly a bit dull for Emmerich's usual fanbase.
Creaking narrative construction succumbs to gigantic cracks of exposition and a maze of disjointed flashbacks in Roland Emmerich's disastrous attempt at demystifying the identity of the Bard.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
The American screenwriter John Orloff may have wished for a muse of fire, but unfortunately he's been given an ear of cloth, and his film would hardly pass muster as a sixth-form end-of-term romp.
Philip French - Observer [UK]
A remarkably restrained and complex film that explores the power that popular entertainment has to embed ideological ideas into the minds of the audiences who consume it.
Thomas Caldwell - Cinema Autopsy
Bountiful in look and scandal yet convoluted in plot and historical validity, Anonymous tries to be a serious work of art but doesn't have the credibility or filmmaking discipline needed to present its wild conspiracy theories.
Matthew Pejkovic - Matt's Movie Reviews
This film is not really about promoting an alternate theory of authorship so much as presenting an intriguing (if unlikely) scenario and seeing how it would play out. It makes for a ripping good story, whether or not it's factual.
Christopher Lloyd - Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Power, betrayal, incest and the theatre are the red-hot ingredients of this intriguing and potentially explosive costume drama.. My lament... is the jumbled, convoluted storyline
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
The film may piss off more viewers than it wins over, but there's no denying that Anonymous has balls the size of The Globe Theatre.
Jim Vejvoda - IGN Movies
...disappointing, overly long, convoluted, confusing, and fatuous, exacerbated by the depiction of Queen Elizabeth I as a profligate slut.
Tony Medley - Tolucan Times
- Austin Chronicle
- Christian Science Monitor
John Orloff's screenplay could have used a rewrite by de Vere -- or whomever.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
An opulent 16th century costume drama that serves as a far-fetched, alternative-history curiousity, continuing the mystery.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
What must not be forgotten is this is an entertaining piece of imaginary work in itself - as suggested by the opening prologue by Derek Jacobi.
Lisa Giles-Keddie - Real.com
A tale worthy of a Shakespeare play in its own right when not more suited for the Enquirer, the film is striking to behold. But a great deal longer than it needs to be, tossing in homicidal swordplay, vintage boy toys and kinky inbred royal closet lust.
Prairie Miller - NewsBlaze
Convoluted at worst and confusing at best, Anonymous looks pretty and is for the most part competently acted, but it's not Shakespeare. Not by a mile.
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
There's absolutely nothing pleasurable about this self-serious and remarkably stupid drama.
Brian Tallerico - HollywoodChicago.com
The largely British cast strive gamely to salvage a film that takes itself far too seriously.
Geoffrey Macnab - Independent
- Empire Magazine
Slickly told, mildly diverting but ultimately fraudulent.
Matt Mueller - Total Film
Disaster filmmeister Roland Emmerich meets Shakespeare: behold, Bard-Zilla is nigh!
Kimberly Gadette - Doddle
Shakespeare in Blah. Playful premise, weak script. Palace intrigue that isn't intriguing.
Clint O'Connor - Cleveland Plain Dealer
If convolution where compliments, Anonymous would be one highly flattered film.
Bill Gibron - PopMatters
There are plenty of reasons to hate Anonymous, but its biggest crime by far is that it is just one more example of the gradual dumbing-down of the world that we live in.
Peter Sobczynski - eFilmCritic.com