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The Other Boleyn Girl

Late, as always, to the party, I saw this movie Thursday night with my friend Philippe, who concluded it was NOT a chick flick. That is, I suspect, what most people would expect of a film with such a title.

The movie , about the brief rise to power of Anne Boleyn as Queen of England as well as her relationship with younger sister Mary, has been out for several weeks. So I imagine everyone who wanted to see it has probably already done so. But then, I only read the novel a few months ago, and it has been on bookshelves for several years. So, at least I'm consistent in my tardiness.

I enjoyed the book a lot and the movie received pretty crappy reviews, so I admit I was a bit hesitant about getting out to see it. I feared it would be a shambles. Perhaps there is something to be said for having low expectations. Bad reviews notwithstanding, I thought the film version was actually pretty good.

I appreciated the fact the movie had quite a dark, brooding air which I imagine reflected the times. There weren't a lot of pretty shots of vast ballrooms with elegant, dancing couples. Rooms tended to be dark and not terribly luxurious -- which I imagine is consistent with what stone castles in 16th century Britian would have been like.

The gorgeous Eric Bana made a brooding Henry VIII -- utterly charming in seducing Mary Boleyn Carey, but cruel and ruthless when it suited him. I don't know if Henry was quite as hot as he is when portrayed on film by Bana (and here I wish I could post a photo!) yet by many accounts, Henry was very attractive as a young man. Which I think the oft-married Henry would have been at the time he first met the Boleyn sisters, and before he began to physically fall apart (which I think was roughly the time he caused Anne Boleyn to physically fall apart; at least, into two separate parts.)

On the downside, while the film portrayed the vicious politicking of the court fairly well, it let most of the Boleyn family off quite lightly for their part in pushing the girls to promote the family interest via Henry's bed. While the horrid uncle Howard was shown as an evil character, which I suspect is pretty accurate, Anne and Mary's parents seemed to be helpless pawns in his schemes. Which didn't seem very believable!

Comments (4)

I saw Anne of the Thousand Days when I was little. I never got that movie out of my head. It was pretty powerful to watch, especially with the idea of beheading someone as a child. I am glad you wrote about this movie. I too have not yet seen it but have been thinking about going. I think that era of England's history is pretty interesting.


Girasoli, I too saw Anne of A Thousand Days as a child and it has always stuck with me. Further, for some reason, my father used to sing a really scary song about Anne haunting the Tower of London. Dad especially relished the line: "With her head, stuck, underneath her arm/She walks the Bloody Tower..." Needless to say, that also made an impression! I should try to find out where he came up with that song.

For a long time, I had the sense that Anne was completely a victim, but once I began to learn a bit more about the Boleyns and Howards, and that whole period of history, my opinion has certainly changed!

Thanks for posting this, very interesting! I have been debating whether to see it or not, now maybe I will.

I watched this movie twice from Milan to Newark on Monday. I liked it quite a bit. My reason for watching it twice though was the other choices included movies such as the Ninja Turtles.

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