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3.1 out of 5 stars
The Other Boleyn Girl [DVD] (2008)
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 3 July 2008
The Other Boleyn Girl is a historical novel written by British author Philippa Gregory, based on the life of 16th-century aristocrat Mary Boleyn, sister of Queen Anne Boleyn.It was a phenomenal success and popularity. I still remember when I bought the book "The Other Boleyn Girl" at a bookshop at Angel in LDN. I was hooked from page one. That lasted to the very last page. I honestly can not say that about the movie.

My disappointment does not result from historic side of thing as I am not expecting a movie (or a novel) to be historical accurate. However, this movie does not really catch the essence of the story told by Philippa Gregory, is not "round" and never really graps one. There are huge gaps in the story told and only if one really knows one's history one can follow. I particuarly dislike the last scene when it looks like that Mary Boleyn raises the future Queen Elisabeth I.

It is however a sumptous movie. I like the costume design done by Academy Award-winner Sandy Powelland and the whole setting. Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn, Scarlett Johansson as Mary Boleyn and Eric Bana as Henry VIII were performing well without being brilliant. Both were by far outshone by Kristin Scott Thomas as Lady Elizabeth Boleyn and Ana Torrent as Catherine of Aragon. The scene when Catherine of Aragon kneels before the king when the court is going to judge her marraige is one of the best. But that is not the main story. The performance of Mark Rylance as Thomas Boleyn, father of the girls, I did not like at all.

It is not a waste of time to watch this movie, but do not have too high hopes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 30 June 2008
I like my almost historical costume dramas as a rule - I loved Elizabeth and that's pretty historically inaccurate, I even liked Elizabeth: The Golden Age. And I LOVE Eric Bana. So I was looking forward to this slice of not-really-true-to-history drama. However, it was most disappointing.

It seemed to me little more than an excuse to indulge in something bordering on Tudor soft-core porn, and the story was very weak. The one high point (meaning I gave it 2 stars instead of one) was Natalie Portman, who was alone in giving something other than a one-dimetional performance. Scarlett Johannsen was horribly misserved by the script - we're led to believe that her character, the eponymous "other Boleyn Girl" fell in love with Henry VIII by way of explaining why she ditched a man she claimed to love, but she falls out of love with her husband and in love with the king in such a short space of time and so easily, one wonders whether several scenes were cut to make the film shorter. Eric Bana stomps around with little to more to do than react to others, completely wasting his many acting talents. And although she does very well with a poor script and has by far the most acting to do, Natalie Portman's Anne still has something of the pantomime baddie about her...it's not a very subtle script, shall we say!

All in all, if you like the weightier Elizabeth, I'd avoid this, but if you're up for a bit of entertainment and boddice ripping without any real depth, give it a go.
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133 of 148 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 23 July 2008
Yes,well,once again I get my come-uppance for not listening to all you other Amazonians out there who know what you're talking about. Instead I went out and bought this claptrap.

The Tudor/Stuart period has always fascinated me: frankly, you couldn't make up half the stuff that went on. Having loved the book, I really didn't think the movie could be that bad (especially having read an interview in which Philippa Gregory endorsed it. Pipps, what were you thinking of??) so I ignored the advice of the Amazon community and bought it. That was the first mistake. The second was watching it. Apart from the gorgeous costumes,the whole thing was a gigantic, horrible mess. The dialogue was laughably bad for a start. None of the scenes hung together properly, everything was disjointed, the characterisations were dreadful, and let's not even get on to the historical inaccuracies which turned it almost into a farce.

Now I know some people don't mind that, but it drives me mad (like with the series The Tudors). Either the inaccuracies are down to poor research and laziness, which is bad enough, or they're deliberate, in which case - why bother? The truth is usually far better anyway, and to present fantasy as historical fact is, I think (being po-faced about these things) reprehensible. Heck, we could all have done a better job for a quarter of the cash. Why go to the trouble of doing some bits right (using Katherine's reported speech, for example, when she went in front of the Lords to plead for her marriage) then flinging in a totally gratuitous Henry/Anne rape scene? What was the scriptwriter on? The events leading up to Anne's arrest, and the appalling way in which she and other innocents (such as Mark Smeaton and Thomas Culpepper,who didn't even rate a mention)were stitched up was completely ignored, and the whole scenario rushed through in about 30 seconds of utter drivel.

And what happened to Mary's first husband in the film, who disappeared without trace? Actually I think he died of fever in reality, but for all the film cared he might as well have fallen down a well. There he was, gone. Seeing as how the book/film is actually about Mary, you would have thought that her story would have been the focus, as it is in the book. As it was, it turned into The Henry and Anne Show. Carry on Henners.

If you really must buy, spend your money instead on the original BBC production (available on Amazon), which is far better (even in that one, though, Anne is played as an impudent young chit rather than the sophisticated, witty, charismatic and well-educated young woman who had been brought up in the French court). Ms. Gregory would have done better to endorse that one.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 12 July 2008
I thoroughly enjoyed this film but I went into it with the right attitude -i expected a hollywood version of an english tale. I love all Phillipa Gregory books and am extremely interested in Tudor history but I can also enjoy a glitzed up star-studded film. The book is without a doubt better than the film but I would still recommend the film-the beheading scene is just brilliant. I thought Scarlet Johannsen was great as Mary - perhaps a little too sexy. I wouldn't ahve cast Natalie Portman as Anne but I've always loved her as an actress and thought it all worked rather well. Well worth a watch but if you're a historian you may be less than impressed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 18 September 2011
Very atmospheric and looks nice!....but this movie is just a reminder of how testing times were back then, just the mere thought of losing your head at the kings whim and the crowds loving it like they do....turns you cold. Yes, its different today, but have we really changed that much? Food for thought. Loved the two actresses playing the sisters in the film....they were good...but it was very sad at the end and my goodness it stayed on my mind!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 7 August 2011
Whether you're a fan of the Tudors or not, this film is not for you. One of the worst films I've ever seen. You can tell they rushed it for the second half, and the way almost every scene just cuts off is frustrating. It would've been nice to actually see the full conversation, rather than one character asking a question, and then cutting immediately to what hathe consequences are. The acting from the Boleyn girls are acceptable, but not even Natalie Portman's pretty face can make this worth watching. Save yourself the money and stay the hell away from this crap. How you can make even an execution boring to watch is beyond me. I'm certainly getting my money back, that's for sure.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2009
I bought this DVD because I love period dramas and studied this period in detail at A-level...as other reviews point out, it is not particularly accurate. E.g. they assume Ann is older, when really no ones knows etc.
However despite these points I still found it a rather enjoyable film, much better the second time you watch it, as the first time i was a bit shocked at how quickly they skim over the divorce and rush to Ann's execution, though to be fair, it is meant to be about Mary so this part is perhaps less important, though it did last years in reality!
If you just want to enjoy a film with fantastic costumes and a good cast then by all means i recommend this, only hesitate if you are looking for something perfectly accurate to help with studying or something! this will not help you.
All in all, it's an enjoyable film, just lacking on the research.
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THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL (2008) is a historical costume drama/romance about the 16th century relationships of Anne and Mary, two sisters of the Boleyn family, and that notorious old Tudor bluebeard, King Henry VIII of England. It boasts a high-powered cast, and lovely location shooting. It is based on the popular novel of the same name by Philippa Gregory, THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL, with screenplay by the currently hot Peter Morgan, directed by Justin Chadwick.

This period of English history is, of course, very essentially dramatic, therefore very popular, and often treated in literature, theater, and film. The Cliffs Notes go: Henry is crazed with lust for Anne, a courtier who denies him; Queen Catherine (Aragon, of Spain), his unfortunate incumbent wife, will not give him an excuse for an annulment or divorce; he therefore breaks with the Catholic religion, and anoints himself the head of the new Church of England, in order to be able to grant himself his intensely desired divorce to marry Anne. But he rather quickly tires of Anne, and it's therefore "Off with her Head," so that he can marry Jane Seymour, who will ultimately give him his fiercely desired male heir, while, unfortunately, dying in childbirth. Jane will be followed by three more wives, with varying degrees of luck. There was also, of course, a few mistresses --including Anne's sister Mary --- can we now hear a chorus of "It's good to be King??"

The excellent cast is headed by those two luscious young American stars, Scarlett Johansson, (LOST IN TRANSLATION, THE PRESTIGE, IRON MAN 2) as Mary. And Natalie Portman, (V FOR VENDETTA, THE BLACK SWAN), as Anne. Both are gorgeously gowned by Sandy Powell. And these girls can act. The Australian Eric Bana, (MUNICH, THE HULK), plays Henry Tudor. The English accents of all three can waver, to be kind. Ana Torent holds the screen as Catherine of Spain, Henry's first wife. Jim Sturgess makes his small part, as the tragic George Boleyn, heart-breaking. Mark Rylance and David Morrissey are good as Sir Thomas Boleyn and Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, the girls' scheming father and uncle, willing to use their own flesh and blood for advancement, as they threw both sisters at Henry, playing them off against each other. Kristin Scott Thomas, (THE ENGLISH PATIENT, TELL NO ONE), turns in a towering performance as Lady Elizabeth Boleyn, who sees her children used and destroyed in pursuit of the family's ambitions.

Many have quibbled with the historical accuracy of this picture: among other things, it shows Mary as the younger sister, when she was probably the elder. But I was a Renaissance History major, and studied this period, and the picture gets the general outlines right. Human life was cheap, and that of women, be they ever so young, beautiful and blue-blooded, even cheaper. The picture does not make it as clear as it could that the plot against Anne was orchestrated by Cromwell, her mortal enemy. But it does show us that Anne's likely true love, Harry Percy, and her uncle the Duke of Norfolk, were forced by Henry to be on the jury that doomed her.

It goes beyond the scope of this movie, but the Howards, a rich, powerful, avaricious and ambitious family -- still-- evidently thought they had plenty of spare beautiful young girls with which to tempt Henry. Later, they were to throw yet another niece, the pathetic young Catherine Howard, at the horny old monster Henry had become, as his fifth wife. That marriage didn't end well for her, either.

"The Other Boleyn Girl" is, of course, a chick flick, but it's lushly filmed, and completely engrossing, even to those who generally don't go for that genre. Boring, it ain't.
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on 28 December 2008
It's such a shame to see so fantastic a novel degraded on the screen. I doubt whether any of the lead actors have actually read the book as none of them have their characters anywhere near as close as should be.

I read the book recently, got the film for christmas. ADORED the book. Almost fell asleep during the film. As an adaption it is inaccurate, rushed, and I really don't think the acting is any good in the three leads. Natalie Portman - OK (being generous) but still not at all as Anne is depicted in the book. Henry is portrayed as a lively, spoilt, naive, bolshy and moderately cheerful young man in the book, on screen this is not translated at all - Bana (I liked him in Troy) is not doing the role justice, in my opinion, as he acts too sombre, moody and thoughtful. His mannerisms in the book are never seen in the film either - i.e. throwing his had back with a roar of laughter.

Likewise in PG's novel there is a strong sense that all the courtiers live their lives to please the King, would fall flat at his feet if he wished it, yet in the film he just strolls around like the rest of them, no-one really reacts to who he is, or tries to succumb to whichever mood he happens to be in.

For Mary the film was never her story, or told through her eyes as it is in the book. It is all about Anne so the title does not really suffice to compliment it at all, for the film is not about the Other Boleyn Girl...but about Anne Boleyn.

Above all I was disappointed with the portrayal of the character of George Boleyn, their brother. Whilst reading the amazing book I loved his character the most, and was eagerly anticipating his part in the film. As well as his time on screen being incredibly small for so important a character, nothing at all reminded me of the character I so loved in the novel. I never once saw the cheeky, charming "courtier's smile" often described in the book, nor a deep affection between him and Anne that grew and became evermore ovbious to those around him. And where was his lover!!!???? Sir Francis Weston?? There was nothing at all, not a hint, about George's homosexuality. Nor was there a sense of the intimacy in the trio of the three Boleyns, as a result of this George's execution stirred no emotion as it should have done and did so well in the book.

I know it is a cliche to slate a movie that has been adapted from a well known novel...but there really are some fantastic novel adaptions out there which deserve every bit of praise they can get....sadly, this particular film is not one of them. I do not regret having watched it, it was quite interesting to see Anne's story visually, but I think as such a gripping and truly amazing book it had the potential to be made into a similarily astounding movie.

My advice? If you have not read the book, by all means watch the film as you may find it good, if you have read the book, don't fret to watch it, as you'll only be disappointed.
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Having read and enjoyed Phillipa Gregory's novel and its enjoyable sequel, I was sorely disapppointed by the film. The script is below par and assumes the viewer has the attention span of a gnat, hence the lack of development of both plot and character. The King's passion for Ann was briefly shown and then rapidly turns to indifference before you can even get used to them as a couple. Bulking out the relationship would have given its demise more impact. As for Eric Bana as the fat, ginger, bearded, ageing King, you can't tell me he was the best actor available at the time! It was pure soap opera casting. Natalie Portman was good, along with Mark Rylance as Thomas Boleyn and Kristin Scott Thomas as his wife, but lovely as Scarlett Johansen is, she does seem to do the anxious pout a bit too well and often. Then again that could be because her part wasn't written very well. For example, did I blink and miss the death of her first husband from sweating sickness? Or the fact that she married him when she was only fourteen? I understand a film can't include all the detail of a book, but this film was an almost entirely different story. In fact it was so different, I am surprised Phillippa Gregory was even mentioned in the credits. And please-we can handle it if Henry the Eighth isn't played by a handsome, fit, dark haired actor! It was his power that made him attractive and feared, not a chiselled jaw.

The costumes were fabulous though, sumptuous and colourful enough to distract from the awful script!
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