Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Other Boleyn Girl

Genre: Drama
First off good casting calls. Natalie Portman - made an adequate role as Ann Boleyn - the ambitious schemer who became the controversial 2nd wife to King Henry 8th. Same goes for Scarlett Johansson as Mary Boleyn who played the reluctant mistress of the king. What else... Great costume. Great sets. No one cocked up on the British accents. Even Eric Bana made a good mess of the smoldering sinister king. And I appreciate how the script showed how the union of political ambition, arranged marriages can turn into a witches' soup.


I think the script writers (directors/producers) tried to cramp too much detail inside - and there was a lot of unnecessary fluff - like seeing the characters ride out of the castles at night. Its enough to see them say they are leaving - but do we actually have to watch them mount the horses, open the gate... ? What were the film editors doing?

And what was the idea of fleshing out the role of Catherine of Aragorn, the 1st wife of the King? Ana Torrent played that minor role with high skill and stole the scene and story away from the two Boleyn sisters. Her speech and stage presence was electrifying. If this was a 3 to 12 hour miniseries - great fine, include Queen Catherine's story. But hey, its a movie - her inclusion was too much of a distraction from the main plot and theme.

The script also did the story injustice by grossly dumbing down King Henry. By turning him into a playboy with the severest case of blue-ball syndrome - the story became totally trite. All this for what? To please a moron? The story was more complex than a young woman's desire to become queen and a king's lust to bang her hard. At heart was the goal to produce a legitimate heir to the throne. The issue of remarriage was a foregone conclusion, Henry would have married any pretty young woman once he got rid of Catherine.

It would have been better to downplay the role and power of Ann - and show the two sisters as they were- pawns caught in a tragic and terrible game of chess.

You can read Mary's story here:

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