Samantha is visiting me this week, and has just finished reading her airport-book-purchase The Other Boleyn Girl. I told her if she managed to finish the book I’d take her to go see the movie. Not really my cup of tea, but I’m just a good big brother like that.
Being that I tend to not read, and have very fleeting memories of world history (sorry Mr. Deegan) I have very little knowledge about the rein of Henry the VIII besides that he had a fondness of lopping of heads and seemingly didn’t have the ability to father a son.* That being said I was able to enjoy The Other Boleyn Girl, largely I believe to my indifference as far as its historical accuracy or ability to follow the popular book’s plotline. It’s hard for me to review these sort of films because I’m very much out of my element if there isn’t a hot-chick or planet that needs saving from some evildoer, but the film was well made, filled with pretty believable acting performances, and the costuming efforts where phenomenal. I found it very easy to follow and not sleep through as well, which was a nice bonus. So as far as I can tell it was a really good movie.
I did find that there where far too many loose ends left open in the film though; Who ends up watching all these damn babies? Because none of the female leads lift a finger towards their own care, let alone the babies they keep popping out. There is also the matter of the missing, estranged husbands, who seem to be forgotten as quickly as their relevance to the plot subsides. Apparently these are wound up in the book, according to Sam, but where notably absent plot points in the film I found.
I liked the corruption theme and watching the simple country folk become twisted by power and pride once the royal whiff caught their noses. Both Portman and Johansen showed evolution of both sisters characters remarkably well. Eric Bana’s Henry was too inconsistent to really get a feel for, so it was hard to see why the Boleyn’s where kicking up such a fuss to be honest. It seems that all the wrong-doing came from the girls themselves more than the king, which I found a little odd. In fact for an adulterous tyrant I found they made Henry entirely too likable (until he rapes that girl. That wasn’t very likable at all).
Anyway, when push comes to shove I found the movie to be entertaining and well composed, if not a little loose with minor details and a tad spotty when it comes to Henry’s relationships with the rest of the characters. Plus the incest thing has me cringing a little more than I’d like.
*I also knew he split from the Catholic church so he could divorce a wife under his own church, but my historical prowess is not the purpose of this post.