Review: The Other Boleyn Girl

I was flicking through the channels this morning and chanced upon this movie being shown on HBO. The movie was already midway, nonetheless it didn't fail to capture my attention.

The other Boleyn girl is a fictionalized historical narrative of King Henry the VIII's involvement with two sisters, Mary and Anne Boleyn. It is largely based on the novel of British author Philippa Gregory focusing on the lesser known Mary Boleyn, who had also been involved with England's King Henry VIII, even before he married her sister, Anne Boleyn, a much more widely known character in English history.

The annulment of King Henry's marriage to Catherine of Aragon (the first wife) to marry Anne Boleyn eventually led him to be ex-communicated from the Catholic Church and England's seperation from Rome. Henry the VIII has been quite infamous in history for having six wives, and Gregory picks up from one the most controversial segments of history to construct a novel loosely based on factual accounts.

The movie is rivetting and grossly entertaining. It's a period piece which, notwithstanding its historical inaccuracies for being a work of fiction, excites the senses and depicts how greed, lust and thirst for power could eventually lead to one's own destruction. Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johanssen effectively contrasts each other's character; one with high ambitions, and the other with the meekness of a lamb. The film is highly sensual and builds on the difference of Mary Boleyn, and her sister, to which both had the king enamoured.

The other Boleyn girl is not a good Sunday morning film, especially if you are looking for something laid-back and easy. Moreover, I advise you not to watch this film if you are searching for historical correctness. Despite this fault, the film succeeds in creating a moving drama, unbelievably sending aftershocks of awe even after the closing credits roll in.


The Anne Boleyn Files said...

I like the book "The Other Boleyn Girl" but not the movie. I thought the movie actually focused too much on Anne, rather than the other Boleyn girl, Mary. I was also spoilt by seeing Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn (in the Tudors) before seeing this film and Natalie Portman just couldn't compete. I would highly recommend the book and also The Boleyn Inheritance which is "narrated" by Anne of Cleves, Jane Boleyn and Katherine Howard.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read the book yet. But I agree with you that Anne had been given much focus compared to the 'other Boleyn girl', Mary. I will try to read the book sometime. Thanks for the comment.