Being Shakespeare

Watch Being Shakespeare

  • 2012
  • 1 hr 28 min
  • 8.2  (27)

Being Shakespeare is a 2011 documentary film that examines the life and works of William Shakespeare, the greatest playwright in English literature. The film is directed by Ross MacGibbon and stars renowned actor Simon Callow as the narrator and guide. The film is a biographical piece that explores the multiple facets of Shakespeare's life, including his humble beginnings as a son of a glove-maker in Stratford-upon-Avon, his rise as a playwright in the turbulent times of Elizabethan England, his experiences as a father and a husband, and his enduring legacy as a literary giant.

The film makes use of extensive archival footage, images, and performances of Shakespeare's plays, interwoven with interviews with leading Shakespearean scholars, directors, actors, and lovers of the Bard's works around the world. From the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon to the Globe Theatre in London, from the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. to the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris, the film takes the audience on a journey across time and space to explore the life and times of the man who gave us immortal characters like Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, King Lear, and Othello.

Callow's rich and melodious voice, his deep understanding of Shakespeare's language and wit, and his infectious enthusiasm for the subject matter, make him the perfect host for the film. He guides the audience through the various phases of Shakespeare's life, from his upbringing in a small town to his arrival in London as an actor and a writer, from the creation of his early works like Titus Andronicus and The Two Gentlemen of Verona to the mature masterpieces like Macbeth and The Tempest, and from the controversies surrounding his sexuality and the authorship of his plays to the enduring appeal of his works in the modern world.

The film also explores some of the themes and motifs that Shakespeare used in his works, such as love, revenge, power, identity, and the human condition. It discusses how Shakespeare's words and ideas continue to resonate with us today, how they have been adapted and reinterpreted in different cultures and contexts, and how they have influenced the literary and cultural history of the world.

Being Shakespeare is not a dry academic exercise or a simplistic hagiography. It is a film that celebrates the complexity and richness of Shakespeare's life and works, while acknowledging the gaps and contradictions in our understanding of them. It is a film that invites us to engage with Shakespeare not as a distant figure from the past, but as a living and dynamic presence in our lives.

The film is beautifully shot and edited, with a wonderful use of music and sound effects to enhance the visual and textual material. It is a film that will delight both the Shakespeare aficionados and the newcomers to his world. It is a film that will inspire us to read, watch, and perform Shakespeare's works with renewed passion and curiosity. At its heart, it is a film that celebrates the enduring power of language and imagination to transform the world and ourselves.

Being Shakespeare is a 2012 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 28 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 8.2.

Where to Watch Being Shakespeare
Being Shakespeare is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent Being Shakespeare for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • Runtime
    1 hr 28 min
  • IMDB Rating
    8.2  (27)