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The Other Boleyn Girl [2008] (DVD)

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37 Reviews

Genre: Drama / Actors: Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Eric Bana, Jim Sturgess, Kristin Scott Thomas ... / Realeased: March 2008

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    37 Reviews
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      25.10.2013 18:35
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      If voyeurism does it for you just stalk your neighbour instead.

      I am, without doubt or apology, one of those people who wants to read the book a well as see the film. And if you read my review on The Other Boleyn Girl then you'll know that I've read the book - and liked it. Admittedly liking one medium's offering or the other is an integral part of the process - if Sharknado had been a book, I doubt I'd be hitting up Amazon in a hurry. But I did indeed like the book and so the DVD had to be ordered.

      It should have been a thing of sublimity. The controlled, dark beauty of Natalie Portman, the more obvious, sensuous attraction of Scarlet Johansson, and dark ominous power of Eric Bana and their combined brilliance at acting - crafted into a film about passion, love, ambition, politics, and survival.

      So how, how on earth, did it all go so wrong?

      ***THE FILM***
      For the uninitiated - and I recommend that you remain thus - this is based (and by 'eck do I mean 'based') on the book of the same title by Philippa Gregory. The book took historical liberties but was an enjoyable tale; the premise being that Anne Boleyn's ultimately ill-fated seduction of Henry VIII into love and then marriage was preceded by the younger king taking fancy to her fairer sister Mary, who historical rumour would have it bore him two children - one of which was a son, the personification of his object of obsession for obvious reasons at the time. So we see, in the book, Mary's teenage infatuation with the man and then her family's ambition reducing her to a pawn in a chess game as she has to effectively school Anne into her own seduction of the monarch.

      So it's a bold premise. You have a lot of emotions at play there, a great deal of historical and political importance and also the human element. Those characters were effectively taken off the page and entrusted to three of the finest actors of our time and the result is a glorious car crash. I don't hold the actors at fault here - but I can imagine their horror when they realised how the production they had signed up for would play out.

      ***SO WHAT WENT WRONG?***
      Quite probably when they hired Justin Chadwick to direct it.

      I'm sure he's a lovely bloke. But he is a TV director and this massive budget offering was his first ever feature film. And it is shot appallingly.

      First off, it's barely even similar to the course of events as per the book - and the book took a few liberties of its own.

      But far worse is the visual appearance.

      The director seems to be obsessed with shooting "through" something. A doorframe, half a window still in shot, a rosebush, hedge, screen, anything. I'm sure that the implied signficance is that we are secretively looking in on both passion and history, but when I reached one notable scene in which the first, say, five shots were ALL through / impeded by something, I had to turn this off. It is so rare that I will do this - I've seen ALL of Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus, a film in which is a gigantic CGI shark EATS the Golden Gate bridge, and yet this weirdly clumsy, awkward catalogue of historical and literary inaccuracies being passed off as cheap voyeurism made me turn off the DVD player.

      So to the acting. Is it awful because of the short scenes, the terrible camera work and the editing? Because we never get to see these three thespian powerhouses get into their respective full flow? Or is it because they are so stunned by in the insipid, passionless work that they find themselves undertaking? Where is the dangerous tension of the temper of the King, the volatile passion of Anne, and the unassuming innocence of the young girl who is not only already married, but should also surely be demonstrating mortal fear of her family that would put her in such a dangerous game. Not even the monumental talent that is Benedict Cumberbatch spared; for his role as William Carey, her husband, has lost the morose and sarcastic wit he showed as a character on page at his situation of having his new wife stolen from him and her being forced to make him a known cuckold at court, and is instead effectively a man without voice, another opportunity wasted.

      In conclusion I think my anger with this production is summed up by my last sentence. Oppotunity wasted. That is what this film is. Something that should have been boiling over with chemistry, elegance, sumptuous seductive brilliance, passion, rage, fear and longing, ambition and survival. Taken on by a man who a check quick on IMDB makes you wonder if this production, and indeed its budget, had been wrongly attributed to "the guy who has done Eastenders and The Bill". He also directed Bleak House, a series which I understand to have been hugely popular, but after seeing this I would run a mile before someone could sit me down in front of that DVD. Attempted artistry by a guy who hasn't yet realised how to weird his most valuable implements - the sensational human talent and the writer's characters that are basically getting butchered here.

      So this is a rare foray into a total rant rather than a review. One star? Good grief. Truly, without question, one of the worst films I have watched. And I've seen Sharknado. All of it. And that had Tara Reid.

      Need I say any more?

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        16.05.2010 14:05
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        Read the book, miss the movie

        I decided to watch this movie as I really enjoyed the book. Usually when I watch a movie made from a book that I like I try to treat them as separate entities as otherwise I tend to end up disappointed. I have however found it very difficult with this one as the movie and the book stray so far apart as to be unrecognisable.

        The Story (as always there are spoilers ahead)

        The movie tells the story of the Boleyn children Ann, Mary and George. Raised in a wealthy family of the court of King Henry XIII the two girls find themselves thrown into the path of the king by their father and uncle. Mary, the younger and sweeter of the two is removed from the care of her husband because the king takes a shine to her but when she's put into seclusion while carrying his child Ann the eldest seduces him and ultimately convinces him to leave Mary, divorce his queen and marry her. Unfortunately for her his infatuation only lasts long enough for her to give him a daughter before he takes a fancy to Jane Seymour. A rumour passed to him from Georges discontent wife give Henry just the excuse he needs to get rid of Ann and the rest as they say, is history.

        The Movie

        I was left a little disappointed by this movie. Henry XIII was one of Englands more interesting and volatile kings and his time was one of decadence yet this movie failed to express that. The acting was of a calibre you'd expect from such experience actors and the costume and set dressing was lovely if dull. There were none of the vivid colours that would have been present in the royal court. The sets were obviously period but as they are now, rather than as they would have been then. In other words colours that would have been bright and vivid to an almost headache inducing degree were washed out and faded.
        I also thought the story was somewhat rushed. I was able to understand it because I had read the book and was therefore able to fill in the blanks but otherwise I think I would have found it very confusing. The situation moved on so quickly from the king being besotted with first one girl then the other and then from making Ann queen to having her beheaded, that it really did seem as if there was very little reasoning behind any of it.

        The Adaptation.

        The Other Boleyn Girl is based on a book by Philippa Gregory and I found it to be a very poor representation.
        The first and largest let down was that the movie was the story of Ann Boleyn whereas the book is the story of the lesser known sister Mary Boleyn. In the book Ann's story just happens to feature heavily in Mary's life. This was a big let down as I felt that the story of Henry and his wives as been covered in many movies and TV shows where as the story of Mary was far more unusual.
        I was also disappointed by the way the characters were portrayed within the movie. In the book Mary's mother and father were quite happy to sacrifice their girls happiness for their own gain. There was little in the way of the motherly affection or fatherly regret shown in the movie. In addition the book shows Ann to be a much darker character, cunning, cruel, selfish and intent on destroying any chance for her sisters happiness whenever she could. The kings character was also left wanting, the movie failed to show the kings steady decline from a strong, beautiful and virile man in the prime of his life to a worried, petty and over indulgent ailing man afraid of his own mortality. These changes were paramount in the book and explained much of his behaviour.
        There were many characters that didn't even make it into the movie and of all the characters that did the only one which did ring true to the original was Mary who was perfectly cast and managed to come across as much like the written character as possible given what she had to work with.
        My final complaint about this movie as an adaptation of the book is the story. The story portrayed on screen had little resemblance to the one written. I can understand that much of the book had to be cut down as it is a very long book which sometimes goes into excessive detail however there are major events in the book which map out the story and many of these were either in completely the wrong order or just missed entirely. For example the kings riding accident which happens practically at the beginning of the movie but which in the book doesn't happen until long after he has bedded Mary and moved onto Ann. In addition there was no feeling of time within the movie. Everything happened at once in what seemed to be the space of a year or two while in the books the story spans much, much longer.
        Because the writers chose to focus on the obvious Ann Boleyn story they completely missed the best of the Mary story. They failed to show her struggle to be a good woman despite being powerless at the hands of her male relatives who were all pushing her to do things she did not wish to. Her love affair with the king was skirted over and her relationship with the queen which in the book is complex doesn't even exist in the movie. The tragic death of her husband just when she was beginning to fall in love with him didn't happen and neither did her affair and elopement. Her devotion to her children and her sisters cruel act of using her son as a pawn to keep Mary in line was also sadly missed out.
        All these smaller details and many more made the story great and all of them were sadly missing from this movie.

        So to summarise, this is a reasonably entertaining movie which is quite pretty but feels rushed and fails to make you feel for the characters. The writers choice to make this movie about Ann instead of Mary means that instead of a deep and sad story of a Tudor courtier and her struggle between obeying her family and doing the best for herself and her children, you get a shallow story that fails to invoke any emotion. I'm glad I was given my copy as I would have been very disappointed had I spent money on it.

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        03.05.2010 14:22
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        Not recommended

        A while ago I read the book The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory and decided I probably shouldn't watch the film as the book was very inaccurate. However against my own advice I recently rented the film from Lovefilm and last night decided to brave it.

        Clearly this film isn't just a dramatisation of what really happened. The situation has been adapted so the film can be about Mary Boleyn, Anne's sister, and her affair with Henry VIII. Naturally this has been made into something it wasn't for the purpose of the story and while I understand this is fiction based very loosely on fact I wonder if today's generation will watch this and think that is what happened.

        Natalie Portman plays Anne Boleyn and frankly she couldn't carry it off, she didn't portray the gritty and deeply religious Anne well at all, I kept thinking she was too young for the part and lacked the depth to convey Anne's character with any conviction. Scarlett Johansson plays Mary and did a better job than Portman at convincing us she was the sweeter inncocent sister (not true to life but true to the film) so all was not lost from the young ladies in this film. Eric Bana played Henry VIII and while at times he seemed to have got to grips with the dominant character of Henry most of the time he resided in the background and only on occasion did he really make you remember he was supposed to be one of the most flamboyant kings of all time. Jim Sturgess played George Boleyn and the script gave him a backbone of jelly and very little personality so frankly Sturgess didn't have a lot to work with!

        Katherine of Aragon features briefly and was played by Ana Torrent, she gave us a good accent for the Spanish queen but apart from that she was given so little in the way of involvement in this film we barely had time to watch her. The rest of the cast are mere bit parts so I won't go through them all.

        I actually found this film torturous to watch because of how wildly inaccurate the facts were. I'm all for adding a bit of drama and glamour to a situation but the real story became so distorted in this film I couldn't help but roll my eyes and groan at the antics. I'm not sure what Philippa Gregory was thinking when she decided to cast Mary as the sweet sexually inexperienced sister when anyone with an interest in this period will know one of the best known facts about Mary was her promiscuity!

        As far as knowing a lot about this period I'm a Tudor enthusiast and have read countless books (proper historically accurate books) on the subject so obviously this almost complete fabrication was never going to be a good idea for me to watch but regardless of the fiction involved I just didn't feel any of the actors had enough presence to bring the film to life, if you didn't know who they were supposed to be you wouldn't be able to guess. Another aspect was the comedic sleeves on Henry's outfits, these seemed to get larger with every shot he was in and reminded me of spoof films where this is supposed to draw your eye to them and create a laugh! Yes we all know he did increase the width of his outfits to accommodate his girth as he got larger but he didn't have bigger sleeves from one minute to the next. Of course once I'd noticed this I couldn't stop looking at it!

        Another problem was hugely important parts of history were skipped over in seconds, some of which were actually very relevant to even this fictional tale and the second half of the film was incredibly rushed. It just bounced from one major event to the next without giving any details at all and some huge events were completely omitted.

        I found myself having to regale my partner all the way through with the real story and timeline because I was so annoyed by this distorted version of events and really wish I had heeded my own advice and not watched it. My partner found it tedious and like me would have preferred a more truthful account of events so it wasn't a hit with either of us. I do understand this was fiction but it wasn't even well acted fiction and the speed of the second half of the film made us dizzy.

        I really don't recommend this to anyone who knows the true story because the inaccuracies, fabrications and incorrect timeline will annoy you. Anyone who doesn't really know the true story probably won't enjoy this insipid attempt at Tudor drama either. The film runs for 111 minutes, is a 12 certificate which I think is probably the only accurate thing about the entire DVD and is available to buy from Amazon for £3.00. The film has the option of being shown in a variety of languages which I assume will either be dubbed or subtitled and as far as I could see there were no extras on this DVD but to be honest I wouldn't have watched them anyway because I was just glad when it finished! I don't recommend it and I felt hugely agitated after watching it!

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          29.03.2010 20:35
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          The Other Boleyn Girl

          The Other Boleyn Girl

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          General information
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          Running: 115 minutes
          Category: drama
          Year: 2008
          Director: Justin Chadwick
          Language: English
          Country: United Kingdom

          Actors:
          Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn.
          Scarlett Johansson as Mary Boleyn
          Eric Bana as Henry VIII of England.
          Jim Sturgess as George Boleyn
          Kristin Scott Thomas as Elizabeth Boleyn

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          The story
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          The story takes place in the sixteen century where Henry VIII of England and his wife Catherine Aragon are trying to give birth to a son. Unfortunately Catherine gives birth to yet another dead male baby. The pressure is on for king Henry, because he needs a male successor for his kingdom. The future of England depends on it. When it appears he can't get a male successor with Catherine, he needs to look for a mistress, who might be able to get pregnant. The search for this mistress starts in only the best families and the Boleyn family is the first to see their changes. They got two beautiful daughters Anne and Mary and they put all their effort in Anne, as it seems that she will most likely succeed. When the king visit the family estate, Anne tries her best to win over the king, but it's Mary who makes the biggest impression. She and her husband get invited to stay in London, where the king will be able to visit Mary as much as he wants. This means that Mary and her husband get separate. Mary is not happy with this, because she just wants a normal simple life, but doesn't really have a choice in the matter. But her task is far from over and has one important duty, to get pregnant and conceive a male successor.

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          Acting skills
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          I thought the acting was really good in this movie, but not really surprising when you see the names of the actors that are in the movie. You have Nathalie Portland as Anne Boleyn and Scarlett Johansson as Mary Boleyn, but also Eric Bana as Henry VIII of England. Nathalie plays a really good Anna, who's jealous of her sister because she's the one who got the attention of the king. In the beginning she's really that spoiled little brat who doesn't get her way but later on the movie she seems more like a adult and knows how to get her way. I really enjoyed her acting. Scarlett Johnson also played a really good part and also loved her in the movie Vicky Christina Barcelona. She plays a really shy girl, who doesn't like all the attention and preferably just wants to lead a normal simple life with her husband. She looks very shy in the beginning of the movie when the kings talks to her and Scarlett comes across very believable. Good acting!

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          Extras
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          Unfortunately there are no extras on this DVD.

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          My opinion
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          Games to get the attention and favour of the King. The Boleyn family will do everything to get the favour of the king and even use their own two daughters as mistresses to achieve the main goal to produce a male successor. I really enjoyed the tension between the family members. The uncle controls the family and his brother (father of Anne and Mary) really just have to listen to him. He agrees with him, but its more the mother who doesn't approve, but as a woman she doesn't really have a saying in this matter. Mary isn't that pleased either but Anne sees her opportunity. The only problem is she doesn't 'win' but her sister does, but she is not one to give up that quickly. Good acting and love the look of the movie, beautiful costumes and everything really give you that sixteen-century feeling. A really good drama movie!

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            26.03.2010 23:04
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            High-class siblings quarrel over a handsome man who happens to be king - simple stuff, but enjoyable

            The Tudor dynasty has got to be one of the most interesting time periods in the history of the United Kingdom. Why? There were so many deaths, so much friction with other countries, the kings AND queens had absolute power and could execute whoever they wanted to, it was a time of so much change and this is probably why there are so many media portrayals of that specific period (Showtime's TV series "The Tudors," the two "Elizabeth" films, HBO miniseries "Elizabeth I" etc). Among the five (well, technically six?) monarchs, Henry VIII is the man who possesses the most fascinating set of stories to tell. First of all, he had six wives (and who knows how many more mistresses he had?). We all remember the formula: divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. He fought off various foreign threats, broke off with the Catholic Church and ultimately claimed the throne of his own, letting nothing interfere with that. So many tales surround this man that an entire film based on the transition from his first marriage to his second can be made with a healthy running time.

            Anne Boleyn (Natalie Portman), the ambitious, attractive daughter of Thomas Boleyn (Mark Rylance) is set to impress and of course attract the interest of Henry VIII (Eric Bana). Things don't go quite as planned, since Anne makes the fatal mistake of embarrassing the king, whose pride is severely damaged as a consequence. Because of this his eyes begin to settle on Anne's sister, Mary, the slightly dumb-looking, lost lamb type (who better to play this kind of role than Scarlett Johansson?). And so the love triangle of the film is created and everyone is out to play dirty. Everyone is looking to play an angle. Anne wants to steal her man, Mary wants to keep her man she so deservedly won, Henry VIII is flip-flopping between the two, Thomas doesn't really care as long as he's in the king's good books and Elizabeth (Kristin Scott Thomas), the mother of Anne and Mary, wants no part of this and hates that her daughters are being used for her husband's professional gain.

            Historically, it would seem there are many inaccuracies. But none of that really matters in this simple love/hate soap opera that happens to be set in a time period where women had to wear big dresses and men wore tights with fluffy clothes. The historical setting is never really the central focus, and the light mood definitely makes it easier to watch. The political drama, break from the Catholic Church, background to the Boleyn family, or the ongoing conflict with France is hardly ever addressed throughout the film. So the enjoyment of this film very much depends on what you're expecting. Don't wait for any dense, historical material, because this is strictly a relationship drama with beautiful costumes. Concentrating solely on the intimate connections, the jealousy that surrounds love, the ulterior motives that surround kindness and the ambitious conspiracies that surround straight-faced characters, "The Other Boleyn Girl" is an easy-going but perhaps one-dimensional adaptation of the original novel. The clash is always very exciting, the numerous verbal fights are intriguing but it's never something new or original.

            Being a character driven drama, acting has to be the most important ingredient and to a certain extent, the actors do all put on decent performances, not great ones. Their English accents are convincing despite their many backgrounds (American, Australian, Israeli), but there seems to be a lack of depth when it comes to the three leading actors (Bana, Portman and Johansson) that leaves them curiously distant. Sure they're attractive, but Bana is never fierce and cruel enough when he needs to be, Johansson is never desperate and damaged enough when it's required of her. Portman, who arguably is the best one out of the three, does bitchy well and shows she can play the dangerous game of seduction as well.

            The script also struggles to squeeze in a 664-page novel into a 2-hour film and because of this the film falls into the trap of irregular pace and rapid editing. Events can occur so suddenly and without warning that it's up to the audience to figure out what must have happened during the gap between one scene and the next. This is fine if used once or twice, but if done constantly, the atmosphere and tone can feel hectic as a whole and disoriented. Henry's relationship with Anne alone would have given sufficient information for a film and maybe more. Doubling the number of Boleyns who appear doesn't make anything easier. So this adaptation of the sizable novel from start to finish involves many rushed sequences packed with crucial moments in the book which is why the final product can seem all over the place.

            The true facts behind this story are and always will remain dubious. But this doesn't stop "The Other Boleyn Girl" from being an undeniably entertaining, fun, colourful, sexy romp with a tiny bit of history added to it. Knowing too much probably won't help, since its lack of insight into the history is guaranteed to frustrate. Best viewed with a clear and empty brain, have fun with this chaotic love triangle with snappy dialogue and cutting performances.

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              19.03.2010 13:15
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              Still a good one to watch I think but don't build your expectations too much.

              Having recently lost myself in the book by Phillipa Gregory, I decided that I wanted to watch the adapted version for film. As usual, the book was better!

              **Brief outline**

              This follows the story of the two Boleyn sisters, Mary (Scarlett Johansson), Anne (Natalie Portman) and their brother William (Eric Bana). Their family use them as pawns to win the king's favour - Henry Viii - and they are told to seduce him (the girls) and befriend him (William).

              The family are some of the main players at court and Mary suceeds first with the King, giving him a son but it's not recognised as he is still married to Queen Katherine of Spain. Anne goes next, persuading him to divorce the queen and marry her, they then have a daughter (Elizabeth).

              After this, everything goes wrong for the Boleyns and they lose all their status and position in court.

              *** The good bits**
              Costumes, scenery and sets were all fabulous and were great to watch with the beauty of the girls shining through in a wholly natural way.

              I still enjoyed watching the film and felt that a lot of it did mirror the times and it's clearly been fictionalised a bit to suit the big screen but we accept that has to happen.

              **Bad bits**
              Not a patch on the book. It felt a little rushed, I know they can only achieve so much in the given time but Anne pregnancy and birth of her child happened in a matter of seconds!

              It was hard to work out the timescales in the film as clearly years were passing but this wasn't easy to follow and obviously none of the characters aged at all during the film! In the book, Anne's courtship of the king lasts for 12 years. It certainly didn't in the film.

              **Verdict**

              You have to read the book to give this justice really but Eric Bana is highly fanciable, even with his beard (I liked him in the Time Traveller's Wife, another book that's better than the film!).

              I felt that Anne should have come accross a bit nastier in the film as she seemed really nice and caring towards her sister whilst in the book she was quite cruel to everyone. You need to understand her motivations better to realise her position and how scheming she is.

              This film touched on the issues but I'd still say you get more satisfaction from the book. I was torn between giving three and four stars for this but have conceded and given four as I still enjoyed watching it.

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              16.03.2010 23:18
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              An interesting historical romance

              The Other Boleyn Girl is based on the story of Anne and Mary Boleyn both of whom it is thought were lovers of King Henry VIII as portrayed in the book written by Philippa Gregory. The historical accuracy of this book and, therefore, the film has been disputed but we know from historical records that the basic facts are correct.

              The film reflects history from Mary Boleyn's point of view. Mary and Anne Boleyn were the daughters of Thomas and Catherine Boleyn who lived on the edges of the Royal Court of King Henry VIII. Thomas Boleyn wanted to rise to higher levels in the Royal Court and upon hearing that the King's wife is unlikely to produce an heir to the throne, hatches a plan with his brother in law (the Duke of Norfolk) to persuade Anne to capture the King's attention and in doing so enhance the reputation of the Boleyn family within the Royal Court. However, all does not go according to plan and the King meets with a riding accident whilst out hunting with Anne and injures himself. Mary, being the gentler sister is asked to nurse the King and he takes a liking to her, asking that she accept a position at Court along with her new husband. Mary agrees reluctantly knowing that in doing so she will be required to be available to the King at all times. And so the stage was set to bring about one of the biggest fundamental changes to the way our country was governed and our religious connections. These changes shaped our country into what it is today.

              This is a difficult film to review as we all know what eventually happened to Anne Boleyn, but I won't give anymore of the plot away in case some people don't know the events that led up to her untimely death.

              It is always difficult with dramatisations of historical events to get a good balance between fact and fiction as obviously we don't know what the people were thinking or what their emotions were and these things have to be guessed at but the guesses have to made intelligently with due regard given to what is known as definite fact and what it is thought the characters would have felt given the situations they were in. I felt that Philippa Gregory interpreted the feelings of the characters well given what we know about their circumstances.

              Mary, Anne and their brother George seemed to be ordinary, loving siblings in the beginning of the film but that all changed due to Anne's treachery towards her sister. I could imagine how they both must have felt when their father and uncle virtually prostituted them for their own political ambitions. They set the girls up against each other by first suggesting that Anne beguile the King and then allowing Mary to be taken into Court for the King to bestow his favours on. Anne felt betrayed by her father and her sister and, as a very ambitious young woman, felt that she would not now find a husband of high rank, whereas her sister was already married. These circumstances caused Anne's character to harden and become determined to get what she wanted at any cost. Mary, on the other hand, felt betrayed by her family and by Anne and the King although she still tried to help Anne when she needed it. I felt sorry for both sisters as, in the beginning, at least, they were pushed into a situation beyond their control and suffered dreadfully from the consequences. I even felt a little bit sorry for Anne and Mary's father at the end as he had to endure the terrible results of his scheming. The sisters' mother, Catherine, came across as unfeeling as she was portrayed as not doing anything to help her daughters in their plight. However, it has to be borne in mind that in those days, wives were very much expected to do as they were told and were not allowed to have an opinion that was worth listening to let alone acted upon.

              Whether the finer details are true or not I can believe that the bones of the story are true as the King in those days was all powerful and if he decided to take a mistress I can believe that the wife would have very little say in the matter. In fact we don't have to look too far back in recent history to see that this still happens.


              **The Actors**

              Scarlett Johannsan plays the part of Mary extremely well, giving her just the right amounts of spirit and gentleness.

              Natalie Portman is very good as Anne showing steely determination mixed with courage and intelligence.

              Eric Bana Henry Tudor
              Jim Sturgess George Boleyn
              Mark Rylance Sir Thomas Boleyn
              Kristin Scott Thomas Lady Elizabeth Boleyn

              David Morrissey The Duke of Norfolk

              There are some nice location shots of Hadden Hall in Bakewell, Derbyshire and Penshurst Place, Kent to name but two and the costumes are fantastic.

              I really enjoyed this film and so did my husband and any historical inaccuracies didn't really matter to me as it isn't sold as a documentary and we know that the main elements are true, it is just the padding that has to be guessed at and embellished. I would definitely recommend watching this if you like a bit of historical romance.

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                23.02.2010 17:32
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                Entertaining but you'd be better reading about the true story

                Having recently read Philippa Gregory's book The Other Boleyn Girl, I decided to give the film a go. It wasn't one I had felt any desire to see prior to reading the book, but I enjoyed Gregory's dramatization of the story of Mary and Anne Boleyn.

                The film stars Scarlett Johansson as Mary Boleyn, and Natalie Portman as the more famous sister, Anne. It tells how the Boleyn family climbs their way up the social scale at the court of Henry VIII, first as Mary has an affair with him, and then as Anne causes him to become infatuated with her and cast aside Katherine of Aragon so she can be his wife - and hopefully bear him the son he longs for.

                I found I was able to read Gregory's novel quite happily, despite knowing the history I felt that on the whole, much of the added details were likely to be accurate. I know very little about Mary's story, but what I do know fitted with Gregory's novel. However, the same did not apply quite so much to the film. The film of The Other Boleyn Girl takes a dramatized account of history and cuts it down to the bare bones of the story. Everything becomes a bit of a whirlwind, particularly Anne's journey to the throne. In reality she danced around the king for 7 years, keeping him waiting and obsessed with her, and refusing to sleep with him until they were married (although it is possible she gave in shortly before the marriage); however in the movie, it seems to fly by, and there is certainly no visual indication of time passing, such as characters aging.

                Another point which irritated me was that in the movie Henry is shown as becoming annoyed with Anne prior to their marriage. When they married he was as infatuated as ever, while in the film he as good as rapes her after starting to see through her scheming. Perhaps this is the better version for the screen; but in my view, the truth in this case is such a good story, why change it?

                In terms of the acting, I wasn't sold on most of them. Natalie Portman played Anne well, but for some reason I could not believe in her scheming and plotting. Johansson as Mary was, quite frankly, bland. Mary was a fairly simple woman from what I know, but Johansson spent a lot of her screen time looking confused and a bit dazed. Eric Bana was not bad as King Henry VIII, but given that I just had to look up who it was that played the part on IMDB, I wouldn't say he was memorable. The one that sticks out in my mind as memorable was Kristen Scott Thomas as Lady Elizabeth Boleyn, the mother of the two girls, and their brother George, who went to the scaffold on the same charges as Anne. Her portrayal of the pain she felt at losing her children was very good, and more convincing than the rest of the cast.

                Visually, the film looked good - beautiful dresses and clothes, well furnished palaces and the like. As far as I know the settings and clothing were historically accurate, but I may be wrong.

                On the whole, this was an enjoyable film, but disappointing after the novel and knowing the true story. I didn't dislike it, but those facts, along with the rather unmemorable and bland acting, made it a bit of a so-so film. It's fine for a bit of light entertainment, but any historians out there might want to avoid it!

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                  17.02.2010 19:46
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                  A really nice film

                  This film is about the Boleyn family, With the kings marriage being strainned and the boleyn family being the only ones who know about this due to the mothers brother, they decide to invite the king to stay so that they can have the chance of him finding love with their daughter Ann Boleyn (Natalie Portman)

                  The reason that they do this is because they want a chance of getting a higher place in society. The mother gave up her rich lifestyle to be with their father and he doesn't feel that he can give her enough. They also have annother daughter called Mary (Scarlett Johansson) who has just recently got married.

                  With Ann being told to 'begile' the king (Eric Bana) she does just this, trying to impress him. This unfortunately ends in disaster when they go hunting and the king is injured. Both sisters have to take care of the king but when he wakes up he gets to meet Mary who is the kinder sister of the two and they start to get to know each other a little.

                  The both get invited to court under the command of the king, but he is after mary not Ann which makes her furious and jealous. Will she manage to get her king and what will happen to her sister?

                  Of course that we know that Ann ends up marrying the king and that she gets beheaded in the end. Thats history we can't change the past, but this film is more about showing the whole story with the emotions and the story that you don't know. Its like the palace behind the scenes.

                  I loved this film, i know that there have been many bad reviews about this film but I watched it as a film and not about historical accuracy and i think it was amazing. I loved the costumes that was one of the main things that i was looking at the whole film some of them were amazing.

                  I have always been a fan of scarlet johanson and natalie portman after watching the films ghost world and garden state and was actively looking forward to watching this film with them both in.

                  I really liked watching the two sisters during their fight for the king, I really loved their different personalities Ann being headstrung and getting jealous very easily and Mary being more relaxed and the kinder sister. I really loved their relationship especially when Ann goes through her jealous stage.

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                  08.02.2010 12:35
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                  Average. OK, not bad

                  I quite enjoy a period drama and thought The Other Boleyn Girl might be worth a watch. The film is based on a novel by Philipa Gregory and looks at the period in history relating to Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII.

                  It stars Eric Bana as Henry, Scarlet Johannson as Mary Boleyn and Natalie Portman as Anne. The flim looks at the affair Mary has with the king, his relaitonship with Anne, their marriage, the relattionship between the sisters and her subsequent execution (I don't think I'm giving anything away there!).

                  It looks at the obsession the King has with having a male heir (and the total disinterest he has in his daughters, ironic when you consider Elizabeth I's reign) and the effect (devastating, sometimes) that had on the women in his life, as well as the social climbing done by the men around the Boleyns.

                  I haven't read the book, but having studied this at school, I think it's fair to say this isn't exactly historically accurate - for example, in the film Mary is the youngest but most historians believe she was older than Anne.

                  In the film, Mary is portrayed as a very innocent, a devoted sister, but it seems she actually had several affairs abroad in real life. Personally, I see no need to change history, it's not exactly a dull period!

                  If this doesn't bother you, then the performances might. Eric Bana is OK , as is Natalie Portman but I personally find Scarlet's acting to be on the wooden side. Accents wise, they did OK, the odd bit sounded American.

                  Costumes wise, it looked great and the story should have been gripping, but I just didn't care that much, because the main performances were only so-so. Some of the supporting performances - Kristin Scott-Thomas as the Boleyn's mother - are much better.

                  It was an OK film to watch on a cold Sunday afternoon, but I can only really describe it as being OK. It wasn't awful, it just didn't really live up to it's potential. I usually really enjoy these sorts of films, but if you fancy a good period drama, which touches on the obsession for boys then rent the Duchess (see my other review), it's much better than this.

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                    10.01.2010 18:28
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                    Alright, but I wouldn't watch it again.

                    After reading the book and really enjoying that I decided that I must find and watch the DVD, so after trekking to every Block Buster near to me I eventually, through the help of a friend, reserved a copy. As it had been out so much and it was even new out I decided it must have been good. However I was shocked by how bad it was. The actors are appauling and even though they are normally pretty good, they seemed unable to fit into the right time slot for the film and lacked the enthusiasm and emotion that they had in other films. Moreover, they weren't British and the American 'ness' didn't seem to fit. The plot roughly followed that of the books. The costumes and settings that were used were good and the only thing that made it seem interesting. Another thing that made the story really hard to follow was the huge amount they jumped around. You had no idea how old the characters were suppose to be and what the time frame for this was.

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                      15.12.2009 14:25
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                      Great cast, brilliant story well worth looking at

                      This film is based on the novel by Phillipa Gregory of the same name. I love her books because she takes periods in history and expands upon them. So much of history deals with the high ranking people of that time, those lower down the social scale were often forgotten. Phillipa seems to want to redress that balance and that is what she has tried to do in this book / film.

                      This story concentrates on Henry 8th's relationship with Mary Boleyn - Anne Boleyn's ( later his second wife) sister. It was Mary that first captured the king's heart and managed to do what no wife except Jane Seymour managed to do - give Henry a son. Mary in the film is played by Scarlett Johansson who plays her very quietly, demure and timid. From the history books I have read this portrayal seems quite accurate. Mary was the complete opposite to her sister Anne which is clearly demonstrated in the movie. Natalie Portman plays a manipulative, quite selfish woman who basically is a very ambitious woman not wanting to share the king with anyone else. This even goes so far as to ban him from having anything to do with his new born son. Eric Bana plays Henry and although he does not have an english accent, does portray Henry quite well. The movie shows how strong family loyalty was in tudor times, especially in the Boleyn household.

                      Although the film is not 100% historically accurate, its a great way to learn about this period in history. The costumes and settings are well researched and the all star castings is excellent. Well worth a look at.

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                      28.11.2009 09:46
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                      A father pimps his daughters out to the King just for more power and higher status

                      I may have left school quite a few years ago now but I can remember some things I was taught and the wives of Henry 8th is one of them so the outcome of this film for me was already in the back of my mind. I did still want to see this film though as I wanted to watch the journey which the sisters took to get to the king, it also stars a few actors which I quite like.

                      The Boleyn family are quite well off but the father, Sir Thomas is always looking for ways to better his families position. He watches his daughter grow and decides that he wants his eldest, Anne to marry a well to do man with good connections but he decides that the younger sister, Mary can marry as she chooses. The girls grow and soon Mary is married and enjoying her life.

                      The Duke of Norfolk, the girls uncle takes an interest in the family and gives the father a proposition which would make a missive impact on the family. He knows that the King is having marriage problems as his wife has given him a daughter and he only desires an air to his throne so the Uncle and Father set a plan to get the King interested in Anne and become his mistress with the hope she will be able to give him the son he wants. The King visit and soon he is giving the whole family jobs in the Court. The Boleyn family are soon shocked when the King takes more of an interest in Mary than Anne and soon have to work out if their plan can succeed.

                      Will Mary of Anne be able to seduce the King and give him his son and what will become of the family if they cannot?

                      The storyline in this film was very interesting for me and at times I felt I was actually learning from it. I did know which sister got the King before hand but it was interesting to watch the betrayal and heartbreak caused by them getting him. I did at times find it quite moving when the father was acting more like a pimp and only trying to better himself with the eyes of the King and for me this was not nice. I think he would have come across in a better light if he chose different phrases or words to explain his plan.

                      The acting in the film was very good and I thought Scarlett Johansson was by far the best. She played the role of Mary and I liked how she portrayed a shy girl who was always living in the shadow of her older sister. She showed naivety when she met the King and I did like how she was reluctant to go ahead with the plan as she was in fact happily married at the time. Natalie Portman played the role of elder sister Anne and she too did a great job. I was surprised when hubby told me she was Padame in Star Wars as she looked quite different in this film. She came across as a strong character who was not afraid to hurt those she loved to get what she wanted. I preferred her when she showed her softer side.

                      There were a lot of supporting actors in this film and Eric Bana who played King Henry was great and showed him to be the awful self loving man he was. Other actors includes Jim Sturgess, Mark Rylance, Kirsten Scott Thomas and David Morrissey and they all gave wonderful and moving performances. I did have to feel sorry for the Mother who was played by Kirsten as she had no control over her family and could not stop her daughters from getting hurt.

                      The film was set in the times of Henry 8th and I loved the costumes. The dresses were wonderful and so was the scenery. I did think a lot of time and effort went into the making of the costumes and they all looked very authentic. I have to say that I would not want to wear one though as they looked so un-comfy! There were a few lovely shots of the countryside but I think I would have liked some more of these. The music in the film was good but no of it really stood out for me. It was all appropriate for the places in which it was used.

                      The DVD which I have does not have any bonus features but I am not a fan of them so it was no loss for me. The running time of the film is 1 hour and 51 minutes and I thought that this was quite long enough. The certificate is a 12 as there is some moderate sex and language and I do agree with this rate. I managed to get this DVD for just £4.98 from Amazon which I felt was a good price.

                      I am going to recommend this film to people who like their history but would advise it is aimed more towards the female market as hubby found it very boring and lost interest half way through.

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                      23.11.2009 17:34
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                      Not bad, not great

                      Given how frequently historical period dramas give the pretense of historical accuracy, it is freshing for once to see a film that flagrantly wears on its sleeve the fact that it has romanticised, and in some aspects made entirely of fiction, some aspects of its narrative. The Other Boleyn Girl, which is adapted from the 2001 novel of the same name by Philippa Gregory, is an unapolgetically sexed-up corset ripper that's over the top, but unmistakably well produced even if its narrative is rather hit and miss for the most part.

                      The film kicks off as Catherine of Aragon is unable to give Henry VIII (Eric Bana) a child, and so the Duke of Norfolk and Thomas Boleyn plot to have his daughter, Anne (Natalie Portman), be put in the presence of the King, with the hope being that she will have a child of the King's. She initially refuses but ultimately agrees, while her sister, Mary Boleyn (Scarlett Johannsson) gets married to a man whom originally wanted to marry Anne. Thus, Mary is basically the second-place finish, and the film explores their rivalry as, when Henry is injured, Mary looks after him, and the two begin to get very close.

                      This has all the makings of a classic corset-ripper: it is firmly rooted in sex, and has a scandalous plot that is very much focused around this. What differentiates it is that it is actually quite well made: the costume design in particular is excellent, and the cinematography at times is gorgeous. The performances too are better than you might reasonably expect, and so this is fairly tolerable even if there isn't much reason to go back and rewatch it.

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                      22.09.2009 20:50
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                      A good romantic period drama

                      The other boleyn girl is a historical romantic drama based on the novel by Phillipa Gregory.

                      Based on the point of view sister Anne and Mary boleyn as they come into conflict as romatic tension rise between them and king henry.

                      The film is paced faster than most historicall epics and works in its favour. eric bana prtrays Henry with gusto but isnt the villian we all know and is easily pursuaded. The real star is Scarlett Johanason who in a sympathetic role give the film a character to really follow. natalie portman seems to be the oppisite and always has an agenda who is less than angelic than mary. The story is well known but gives us an insight into the more private matter than the public story we all know.

                      The ending is also known which lies the heart of the problem with the film. The ending is has no climax and a more fantisacal ending would of been more approriate.

                      The costumes and the design of the film are faultless and it looks as if a lot of money has been seeped into making the scenes authentic. The music is standard and doesnt bring much to the film.

                      Just the right mixture of period and romance

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                  • Product Details

                    Two sisters contend for the affection of King Henry VIII. "The only thing that could come between these sisters... is a kingdom."