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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
In this period drama, honesty is rarely the best policy. Almost all of the characters are lying about something, whether it's to achieve wealth, power, love, or some combination of the three. People are happy to engage in a huge theatrical deception because it's quite lucrative. Others conspire and manipulate people for political reasons.
Positive Role Models
The Earl of Oxford will do almost anything to pursue his passion (writing), even letting others take credit for his work just so he can see his plays performed. His passion is impressive, though he ignores his other responsibilities and his own family to pursue his work.
Violence & Scariness
Several scenes feature swordfights and armed clashes between soldiers, as well as intense torture sequences and an angry mob attempting to storm a castle.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Love scenes show people embracing, passionately kissing, and lying in bed (during/after simulated sex), both clothed and partially clothed. Implied oral sex, and some sex sounds. Several cleavage shots and both partial and complete views of men's bare bottoms. Lots of innuendo/suggestive talk and discussions of the political impact of children being born out of wedlock. Infidelity and prostitution; references to incest.
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"Bollocks," "my God," etc.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A few scenes show people drinking in pubs and occasionally being drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that that this period drama set in Elizabethan England questions whether William Shakespeare was truly the author of the plays and poems attributed to his famous quill. The film focuses on several huge deceptions, so there's plenty of lying, manipulation, and scheming -- just about everyone is trying to obscure the truth. There are also some intense torture scenes and a few battles, as well as lots of innuendo and several scenes showing cleavage, glimpses of bare bottoms, and people in bed -- though there's no graphic nudity. Many of the movie's themes are rather adult, including the central literary hoax and the political implications of children born out of wedlock to royal parents. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The film has a complex sequence, jumping back and forth between four different time periods, and can be hard to follow. Director Roland Emmerich is better known for his action blockbusters (Independence Day, 2012), and Anonymous works better when he's staging battles than in the many quiet moments when he's attempting to establish the literary fraud.
It's also hard to tell whether Emmerich actually believes in this great Shakespearean conspiracy or if he's just trying to spin a good tale. And it is a good story, with political intrigue, lusty lords and ladies, people with mysterious noble lineage, and some world-class schemers. Still, while the film is entertaining, some viewers might not be sure whether to take it as historical fact or simply a fanciful yarn.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.