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94 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Far superior to the Hollywood film version
This is the TV adaptation which came out several years ago shortly after the book became such a success and is far superior to the more recent film version which starred Scarlett Johanssen and Natalie Portman. It conveys much more accurately the atmosphere and tension of Philippa Gregory's superb novel and doesn't have the glaring gaps of the 2008 film (in which Mary is...
Published on 29 Mar 2008 by hiljean

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh Dear!!
This is a BBC production - partly improvised - and has an excellent cast including Steven Mackintosh and Jodie May. It has a gritty, stark and sparse feel and is atmospheric. But is not a great or particularly memorable production. Here, we have the usual, predictable representation of Anne Boleyn in a very unfavorable light. Forgetting that she was was actually a...
Published on 23 May 2012 by Kokino


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94 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Far superior to the Hollywood film version, 29 Mar 2008
By 
hiljean (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Other Boleyn Girl [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
This is the TV adaptation which came out several years ago shortly after the book became such a success and is far superior to the more recent film version which starred Scarlett Johanssen and Natalie Portman. It conveys much more accurately the atmosphere and tension of Philippa Gregory's superb novel and doesn't have the glaring gaps of the 2008 film (in which Mary is suddenly marrying again with no explanation as to what has happened to husband No 1!). The performances are brilliant and I cannot recommend this highly enough. I am so pleased to have found it at this price and will be watching it to erase the awful travesty of the more recent film version.

If you haven't seen this but have enjoyed the book, you would do far better to spend your money on this than on the admission charge for the recent film.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh Dear!!, 23 May 2012
This review is from: The Other Boleyn Girl [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
This is a BBC production - partly improvised - and has an excellent cast including Steven Mackintosh and Jodie May. It has a gritty, stark and sparse feel and is atmospheric. But is not a great or particularly memorable production. Here, we have the usual, predictable representation of Anne Boleyn in a very unfavorable light. Forgetting that she was was actually a charming, witty and cultivated woman who captivated many a heart.

Neverthless, using the material from the Philippa Gregory hit(if historically inaccurate)book, this drama more or less paints the image of Mary Boleyn as a sweet and good natured girl, out shined by her bitchy and grasping sister who becomes queen and pays the ultimate price. A boring and unimaginative premise. We don't know much about Mary Boleyn, but we do know that she was mistress to both the French king and Henry VIII - she was hardly an innocent. the idea that Anne Boleyn even contemplated incest with her brother is rather tasteless - one of the charges against her was that she slept with her brother. But then again, portraying a nasty bitch is always going to make great copy.

The wonderful cast do what they can with the script and any innovations but its a thankless task. This is a cold little drama and if you have any historical bent you'll concede that the real Anne Boleyn would probably never be seen dead in the ugly outfits and headress that May wears. Get a copy of the brilliant BBC classic The Six Wives of Henry VIII instead and we'll call it quits ....
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112 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At Last, 19 May 2008
By 
Mr. Keith R. Haynes (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Other Boleyn Girl [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Since this BBC adaptation was screened I have searched continually for this version on DVD. Without any doubt this is one of the most engaging dramas I have ever seen. Stylistically it may not be to everyone's taste, with what appears to be hand held camera work and direct address to the camera similar to an interview approach. There is a grain to the film that only enhances the rawness and edge to the production.

It is the only historical drama that brings a genuine sense and vision of a Tudor court to life. The character developments are pertinent and emotionally engaging. The performances are exceptional and it is a great shame that such an exceptional work as this should have been overshadowed by a glossy Hollywood interpretation.

This film deserves to be seen by a much wider audience and far outstrips both the film and the book of the same title. Watch it, you will be mesmerised.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars couldn't agree more, 6 May 2008
This review is from: The Other Boleyn Girl [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
I too have been waiting and waiting for this to become availale on DVD. Although the direction is slightly odd, it's a wonderful, focussed study with a terrific cast - Jodhi May, Philip Glenister, Steven Mackintosh. Much closer to the book than the recent Hollywood version, which I saw and which was absolutely dire. I really need to see this now, to wipe the other from my memory! I'm really looking forward to getting it.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The other other woman, 1 Feb 2008
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Other Boleyn Girl [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Hollywood is releasing a new adaptation of Phillipa Gregory's "The Other Boleyn Girl," so unsurprisingly the older BBC adaptation is also (finally) seeing the light of American day.

And it's a pleasant, intimate little look at the difficult world of women in Tudor England. It's hampered by what is obviously a very low budget, but Jodhi May and Jared Harris turn in performances that knock it a few notches higher. Seriously, they're both amazing.

While serving Queen Katherine, Mary Boleyn (Natascha McElhone) catches the eye of King Henry VIII (Jared Harris), and soon her scheming, power-hungry family has shoved her into his bed. Initially she's horrified and ashamed, but soon finds that she's starting to fall in love with the charming king.

Meanwhile, Mary catches her sister Anne (Jodhi May) in bed with an engaged courtier, and the disgraced girl is sent away. When Anne returns, Mary is pregnant, and the Boleyn family is afraid of losing Henry's favor. But when he meets Anne, Henry immediately drops Mary, and becomes enraptured by the ambitious, frank young girl.

But Anne's one mistake -- and exile -- have hardened her, and she's determined not to be the "king's whore" like her sister, but his wife. Amid a storm of angry protest, Henry divorces his wife and marries Anne. But when she gives birth to another daughter, her position begins to slip...

"The Other Boleyn Girl" is not an epic movie -- it's more of a Tudor chick-flick. The big issues (women's reduced rights, splitting from the Catholic Church, poor Katherine of Aragon) are pushed to the background, in favor of a more intimate look at two young women's lives.

The direction is something of a hit-and-miss -- there are some lovely moments, like Mary's moment in the church when she realizes who she's in love with, or Anne's tantrum in front of the court. And Philippa Lowthorpe really gets across what a woman's life would have been like in the Tudor court, as well as the controversial idea that Anne really WAS guilty of incest. Unlikely, but interesting in fiction.

But the sets and costumes look a bit low-budget for the sumptuous Tudor era -- this is glaringly obvious in Katherine's chambers, which look like they were assembled hastily on a soundstage. And for some reason, the characters keep talking to the camera as if they're in a reality show.

What pulls this above "average"? That would be the acting. McElhone gives a graceful, understated performance, but May is the real powerhouse here -- her Anne fills the screen as a vibrant, passionate young woman who is burned by her family's ambition. And Harris is simply amazing as the young Henry -- not a bloated, diseased wreck, but a charming and athletic young monarch.

"The Other Boleyn Girl" is a rather mediocre TV movie that is given a massive boost by a trio of talented actors, particularly Jodhi May. Just don't expect too much historical detail.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Low budget, but more coherent, 10 Oct 2014
By 
Iset (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Other Boleyn Girl [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Naturally it's impossible not to compare this version with the Hollywood film. This version is slightly better than the Hollywood one in terms of accuracy - Mary Boleyn is restored to her correct place as eldest of the siblings, and thankfully there's none of the marital abuse here that was inexplicably included in the Hollywood film when it wasn't even in the book. However, this version does keep the incest in, which the Hollywood version pulled back from. But, again in this version's favour, it's actually explained what happens to Mary's first husband, and here there's no Mary Boleyn stealing the future queen of England at the end. So the narrative is definitely more coherent, even though the adherence to the source material is another matter for debate entirely.

This version is unmistakeably the poorer cousin of the Hollywood film, quite literally. It's quite obvious that this was made on a shoestring budget. The costumes are cobbled together, the cast never seems to number more than 20 at most, the scenes clearly make use of whatever grand country houses will let them borrow a room or a corner of the gardens and in some cases just seem to be a set dressed with a curtain and a few candles, and the entire thing is shot on a handy cam. To be fair, the handy cam may have been a stylistic choice - the whole piece feels like it's trying to recreate a The Blair Witch Project "found footage" feel, and throughout the footage is covered with a grainy filter, and at times the Boleyn sisters break the fourth wall by sitting in a "confession" room where they look straight into camera and talk directly at the audience. Perhaps the director was trying to bring some immediacy into the story by shooting it in this way, but unfortunately it doesn't pull it off. It feels strange and incongruous throughout. The Hollywood version definitely wins this battle - silly it may have been, but visually at least it was gorgeous, with all the production values you'd expect from a big budget film.

It's a wonder on a budget this low that the film managed to get the cast it did; Jodhi May as Anne Boleyn, Jared Harris as King Henry VIII, and Philip Glenister as William Stafford. Natascha McElhone is miscast as Mary Boleyn simply due to her age - Mary of the book is a mere teenager, and historically barely in her 20s - but she does her best with such abbreviated screen time and not much to work with. Likewise with Philip Glenister and Jared Harris, who fit much better into their roles but simply don't have enough time to develop them that much. Jodhi May is the best of the lot, with a passing resemblance to Anne's portraits and giving the role a certain verve and sparkle. She's certainly a sight better than Natalie Portman's Anne. Unfortunately these decent performances can't save the production.

So where does it stand? The Hollywood film certainly wins out on visuals and production values, no doubt there, but this version just tips it overall, with better performances and a more coherent narrative than the Hollywood film. However, it's brought down by the wince-inducing low budget which tells in everything from the sets to the style of shooting to the woefully small cast, and it ultimately feels unsatisfying.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget the Hollywood Hype, 27 Mar 2008
By 
laineyf "widnes" (warwickshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Other Boleyn Girl [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
This production of Philippa Gregorys 'The Other Boleyn Girl' is superb!! The performances are electric, totally capturing the intrigue and tragedy that surrounded Mary and Anne Boleyn, and ultimately anyone who fell foul of Henry VIII. I watched this ages ago and have been trying to find this version for ages, with no luck til now. It is just so sumptuous, so perfect, so ENGLISH!! So unlike the Hollywood version, I am sure. I haven't seen the hollywood offerring, and won't be bothering. This is the one for me. It is breath-takingly correct, exactly how I see the court of Henry, complete with all its back-biting and pushing of daughters into the royal lair. Great stuff!!
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50 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth 5 stars for Jodhi May alone, 12 Mar 2008
This review is from: The Other Boleyn Girl [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
This is worth 5 stars for Jodhi May's performance as Anne alone. It is a staggering, heart-wrenching, powerful, driven portrayal of a complex personality. The drama itself is well done and worth far more than the 3 stars someone else has accorded it. Why May has not become better known is past my understanding.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for fans of Historical Drama, 13 Jun 2008
By 
Lisa Powell "berrysnooze" (Crawley, United Kingdom.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Other Boleyn Girl [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
I can only echo what previous reviews have said that this version of The Other Boleyn Girl is superb. Not only is it loyal to the book, it is a far superior account of Philippa Gregorys' story than that of the recent film. It makes far more sense in how the passing of time is represented, rather than a flash in the pan that the film presents the case as.

It demonstrates the true passion that not only existed between Henry and Anne but in the entire Tudor period. I am ecstatic that around 6 years after this production was made it is finally being released on DVD, for this price it is a must have.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Other Version of The Other Boleyn Girl, 4 Feb 2012
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This review is from: The Other Boleyn Girl [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
The Other Boleyn Girl, the popular historical novel from Phillipa Gregory, has a feature film adaptation with Eric Bana et al going a bit Tudor on each other. Nevertheless, this version, a BBC TV movie, was made 5 years before that mainstream 2008 film, and it certainly shows.
This TV movie strips the tale of two sisters, who both end up being married to the notorious Henry 8th at one point in their lives, to nothing more then sibling rivalry of the Tudor extreme, love, sex... and of course, sex! Maybe because the director could not find something more innovative to pitch this screen adaptation, set during an eventful period of Tudor-reigned British history then with - you guessed it- sex.
With more handy-held camera work then the average Blair Witch Project fan film, the camera work is a bit hectic, where the camera operators seem to be told to go off and make shots of some castles interesting. Even the application of some infrared camera work seems laughable, for one running-girl-in-the-night scene. The sound operators must have had problems throughout the tight scheduling of filming dialogue, before being punctuated by a sex scene, in this so-called costume drama, as in places you felt that you can hear the countryside more then the uninteresting dialogue.
The performances are noteworthy, taking into account that the script is generic at the best of times, particularly Jared Harris portraying Henry 8th as- um- any screen representation of Henry 8th. So Harris plays this king as the greedy jerk, who all he wants from his wife is a baby boy- so, for those that have any knowledge about this Tudor king, can work out what Anne Boleyn- played by Jodhi May without much distinction- can work out then Henry doesn't enjoy Anne's babies that much.
Whilst this adaptation is at best- if you dare put it- a watchable screen adaptation of the popular novel, it is forever flawed with cheap and nasty production values. You are best seeking out the 2008 film that had a more entertaining approach to this Tudor love triangle, without relying on the sex scenes to tell the story.
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The Other Boleyn Girl [DVD] [2003]
The Other Boleyn Girl [DVD] [2003] by Philippa Lowthorpe (DVD - 2008)
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