Director Roland Emmerich has made a career out of disaster themed movies. Typically he has the world doing its best to actively kill us pesky humans, whether it be through ice in The Day After Tomorrow, aliens in Independence Day, or whatever that was in 2012. His movies are spectacles, and they are designed to entertain through disaster. In his newest film though, Emmerich brings the disaster to a smaller group of people—English majors.
The story of Anonymous questions whether or not Shakespeare actually wrote his own plays. Set during the succession of Queen Elizabeth (Vanessa Redgrave), Anonymous follows the possible “real Shakespeare”, the Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere (Rhys Ifans), as a battle between the Tudors and the Cecils looms over who will succeed the queen.
Through a series of strange events, de Vere hides his identity behind a proxy. He then sire’s an illegitimate child with the Queen, who may or may not be his mother. And thus English majors heads’ everywhere will begin to explode.
It is actually not an original theory, weird though it may be. The story is based on the obscure “Oxfordian theory”, which claims that de Vere actually wrote the plays attributed to Shakespeare. There are several reasons why this theory persists, but one of the most significant is that Oxford’s life shared many similarities to the plays of Shakespeare, especially Hamlet. To fans of Shakespeare, it is an interesting theory in the same way that Ebola is an interesting disease, but it is a theory that has held up throughout the centuries.
Anonymous hits theaters on September 30, 2011.