Movie review: The Other Boleyn Girl

The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)Year: 2008
Director: Justin Chadwick
Starring:Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Eric Bana

Since I concluded that the book was lacking in historical depth I should have expected the same from the movie. But it was way worse than that. The cinematic version of The Other Boleyn Girl just floats on the surface of historical facts. Of course, you can’t really expect much when the director has to squeeze over a decade into two hours, but the movie left me confused about some of the events shown. The reasons behind Henry’s Reformation and infamous divorce are underplayed here. He exiled a great queen and got excommunicated by Rome just to bed another pretty girl? Just because she told him to? There were years of tension and flirtation involved. Anne got him completely bewitched with her intelligence and prospects of the future where the king himself can decide his fortune. She gave him a promise of a change where he can have anything he wanted, – mainly a son – and for that reason Henry was ready to do anything to possess Anne.

I’m glad that the characters of Thomas and Elizabeth Boleyn were changed to show them as loving parents, instead of cold and ambitious manipulators presented in the book. That is pretty much the only thing I liked about the movie. Otherwise, it was too rushed, and a lot of things were left to be taken “as is”. I couldn’t see why Mary decided to marry William Stafford. It wasn’t really explained why Henry suddenly lost his affection for Anne. And a rape scene? Where did that come from? The movie, just like the book it was based on, did not do any justice to the time period at all.

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