The Other Boleyn Girl
Based on a novel by Philippa Gregory, “The Other Boleyn Girl” revolves around the ferociously ambitious Boleyn sisters, Mary (Johansson) and Anne (Portman), who are rivals for the bed and heart of 16th century English King Henry VIII (Eric Bana).
A sumptuous and sensual tale of intrigue, romance and betrayal set against the backdrop of a defining moment in European history, “The Other Boleyn Girl” tells the story of two beautiful sisters, Anne (Natalie Portman) and Mary (Scarlett Johansson) Boleyn who, driven by their family’s blind ambition, compete for the love of the handsome and passionate King Henry VIII (Eric Bana). While both women eventually share the king’s bed, only one will ascend to the throne for a brief and turbulent reign that ends tragically with a swing of the executioner’s sword.
This is one of those films that may pleasantly surprise you. I don’t know exactly what I expected, but I do know it is a better made film than I figured it would be. The acting is good, particularly that of Natalie Portman who plays Anne Boleyn. Anne is a cunning and quick learning young woman who knows how to get her way by manipulating certain situations as well as the king himself. She can certainly turn on the charm when it is to her advantage. Her flirtatious nature entirely captures the king’s attention. The cinematography was also excellent. An example of this is a scene in which a ship is coming in from sea and it is simply a beautiful scene to watch with the brooding sky and foamy waves. Another nice shot is one of the castle with all its majesty.
As far as I could recall from my history classes in high school, this film is fairly accurate in its story telling. The king’s affairs were well known and the film includes this fact. However, some of the content shown including the king damning a character twice in this film, preclude us from considering this film family friendly. Other content concerns which our readers need to know is that the king’s unfaithfulness and affairs are included, although no graphic sex scenes were shown. In one scene, which is partially shown from the waist up and strongly implied, the king forces himself on Anne who has been teasing him for some time. There are also two beheadings at the conclusion of the film, neither of which are graphically shown, although a corpse and blood is seen in a long shot from above.