The Other Boleyn Girl
directed by Justin Chadwick
(Columbia/Focus, 2008)

King Henry VIII (Eric Bana) is growing tired of first wife, the Spanish Katherine of Aragon (Ana Torrent) since she cannot bear him a son. So the Duke of Norfolk (David Morrissey) and Sir Thomas Boleyn (Mark Rylance) offer young Anne Boleyn (Natalie Portman) a commission -- if she becomes the king's mistress, she will both advance the family's interests and secure a ducal marriage for herself.

Anne's mother objects, but Anne's intrigued. Unfortunately, the men's advice on a hunt to "ride strong" gets the king injured and ill-disposed to Anne, who showed herself a better rider than he. When just-wed Mary (Scarlett Johansson) is sent to tend the king, he fancies her instead and sends for her to court.

Soon, Mary's husband is disposed of, and the king and younger Boleyn girl are having a torrid affair. When Mary lies in with Henry's child, the balance switches. Anne is brought in "only to keep the king's interest on Mary."

The following film details Henry's subsequent beguilement by the older Boleyn sister, and Anne's rise and fall. While the historical accuracy isn't there, it's an interesting tale.

Bana would not have been my choice for young Henry Tudor. While he's handsome enough, he doesn't look the part. Johansson was the performer most luminous in this tale of court intrigue.

I suspect this film will get the nod at the 2008 Oscars for costuming. The garb was gorgeous and beautifully detailed. The film is a treat for Ren faire junkies just to see what everyone's wearing.

The Other Boleyn Girl is based on the historical fiction of the same title by Philippa Gregory.

review by
Becky Kyle

19 April 2008

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