Movie Review: ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’

By Marella Flynn |

I was hesitant to read the novel by Philippa Gregory because of the historical background, but I was literally blown away by the 672-page monstrosity.

It resembled somewhat of a personal journal illustrating all of the scandalous affairs the two young Boleyn sisters, Anne and Mary, had with King Henry VIII of England.

The movie itself was exquisite. It’s not just another historically based movie. Although it was a loose translation of the novel, the essential elements of the exchange of sex for power and wealth strongly resonate throughout.

Knowing that Henry was desperate for a male heir, the father and uncle of the two Boleyns tempt him with the girls’ beauty and fertility. Anne’s and Mary’s struggles with duty versus personal beliefs define them.

Natalie Portman plays the infamously sinister Anne Boleyn, while Scarlett Johansson portrays the naive younger sister Mary flawlessly. Their encouraging brother George is played by “Across the Universe’s” charming Jim Sturgess.

Portman is an enticing Anne and, despite her good-girl reputation, I felt that she had the ability to reveal how truly heartless Anne was. Johansson is, in my mind, the only one who could have represented Mary as the rational and devoted sister/daughter/wife/mother that she was.

My personal opinion is to watch the movie, and then read the book. The movie gives a great sense of the characters and their motives. The novel will then fill you in on all of the juicy details the movie did not have time to cover. Yes, the novel is obscenely long, but trust me—you will want to finish it. You may thank me one day for this great suggestion.

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements, sexual content, and some violent images; 115 minutes.

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