The Other Boleyn Girl

2008-07-28 10:54
What it's about:

During the rule of the Tudor dynasty, King Henry VIII (Eric Bana) is displeased with his wife Katherine of Aragorn (Ana Torrent) when she fails to provide him with a male heir to England's throne. Thomas Howard (David Morrissey), the Duke of Norfolk, hatches a plan of "family advancement" and convinces his brother-in-law Sir Thomas Boleyn (Mark Rylance) to 'flaunt' his daughter Anne (Natalie Portman) in front of the easily distracted king. But when Anne falls out of favour with Henry after a hunting accident, Howard changes his strategy and calls on the other Boleyn sister Mary (Scarlett Johansson) to carry out his ambitious plan. Now two sisters who were the best of friends become bitter rivals: one for the King's treasures and the other for the King's heart.

What we thought of it:

With the world's recent interest in the Tudors, the adaptation of Phillipa Gregory's novel will certainly appeal to the masses. But while the MTV generation will love it, historians might look upon this work of historical fiction with disdain.

Hollywood has certainly pimped the hell out of a story about two of King Henry VIII's lovers with its scandalous plot twists, gripping performances, dramatic score and striking wardrobe. The bad behaviour of the British Royals depicted by the author, screenwriter Peter Morgan and director Justin Chadwick would give footballers wives a run for their money. The halls of the English court drip with passion, scandal and trepidation.

Casting of Hollywood actors Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson and Eric Bana in the lead roles adds to the film's mainstream appeal. It's rather disappointing that no Brits were chosen for these roles (especially given Johansson's rather poor English accent), but Johansson does well as the virtuous Mary and Bana fills the palace halls with broody Australian angst. Portman deserves special mention as the beguiling Anne who returns from exile in France as a mesmerizing conspirator.

If you're in search of a historically accurate story of the Boleyn sisters, you're looking in the wrong place. But if you're in need of a period piece rich in melodrama, The Other Boleyn Girl will satisfy your appetite.

- Megan Kakora

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The Other Boleyn Girl is an extravagant retelling of royal scandals mixed with ruthless ambition and two very beautiful women.

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