Film Review – The Other Boleyn Girl

OBG

The Other Boleyn Girl is a historical romp directed by Justin Chadwick and based on the best selling novel by Philippa Gregory. The film stars Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn and Scarlett Johansson as her sister Mary Boleyn with Eric Banna as Henry VIII.

As you can guess by the title the film it’s about The other Boleyn girl i.e. Mary, who was a one time mistress to Henry VIII prior to his marriage to her elder (or according to some historical evidence younger) sister Anne. I always loved Tudor history and given Anne’s renowned feisty nature I though this could indeed be a very interesting film. The film is extensively about sibling rivalry with Anne the feisty, precocious schemer and Mary the quiet, homely and beautiful even though she is unaware sister. When the Boleyn family find out Henry is unhappy in his marriage to Catherine, the family sets about a scheme to raise the families power within the court. This involves using the Boleyn sisters to woo and eventually bed the unhappy king.

Given this is a historical film we all know what eventually happens, Anne marries Henry and sets about the establishment of the protestant church within England. She also causes uproar within the country as a whole, is accused of incest and eventually loses her head. The film looks great as most historical epics do but I can’t help but find the meat of the story really lacking. I have heard a lot of the book was cut out due to the wish of the films makers to keep the piece closer to the historical truth. I’m unsure who you are indeed meant to sympathise with as I personally prefer Anne to Mary even though she is difficult and egocentric not to mention very cunning. I was hoping for more from this film but it left me not feeling much apart from when Anne took to the scaffold at the end of the film, where I did feel for her and how misguided she was even though she did indeed cause her troubles herself.

I would say wait for the DVD with this one unless you want to just see Natalie or Scarlett on the huge screen in corsets, as I can’t exactly say this film was bodice rippingly good.