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Rhys Ifans stars as Earl of Oxford in "Anonymous" (Columbia Pictures)

Roland Emmerich's "Anonymous," which stars Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave and David Thewlis, is based on the notion that the Earl of Oxford, not William Shakespeare, wrote those many plays and poems. The movie inspired theater critic Judith Newmark to write a sonnet in response.

On 'Anonymous'

A sonnet really isn't hard to write.

You have 10 fingers: Tap the beat. It's strong

As some old pot of ale, poured late at night,

And rhyme comes easy when your vowels are long.

A lot of people know this. Some may claim

That they, and they alone, can mark the stress.

But you know better. You know that the same

Slick minds that shape a sci-fi film can dress

An idiotic story up, as though

It were a masterpiece of biopic.

But ruffs and tights are little more than show,

And history's no cunning FX trick.

Will Shakespeare, whose words shine on, bright and brave,

Is turning o'er with laughter in his grave. 


One star (out of four) • Rating PG-13 • Run time 2:10 • Content Some violence and sexual content