The Other Boleyn Girl (12A)

Film

Period and swashbuckler films

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Mon Mar 3 2008

Why in the name of ermine boleros would anyone make such a dull, coy and, worst of all, pretty film about Anne Boleyn? Writer Peter Morgan (‘The Queen’, ‘The Last King of Scotland’) again ventures into the parlours of the rich and powerful to excavate a crisis. This time it’s the marital and succession woes of Henry VIII (Eric Bana) and their knock-on effects on two noble sisters, Anne and Mary Boleyn, who are vying for the eye of a broody king, egged on by their father (Mark Rylance) and their scheming uncle, Thomas Howard (David Morrissey, playing Alastair Campbell to Rylance’s Blair).

It’s no doubt a producer’s wet dream to cast Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman as the two Boleyn girls. Johansson is the domestically-inclined Mary (‘What about our future in the country?’ she grumbles in Good Housekeeping fashion to her drippy husband) and Portman (more successfully) is the more forthright Anne, newly and unconvincingly emboldened by a spell at the French court (it’s a small mercy she doesn’t return with a copy of ‘The Second Sex’ under her arm).

The pair’s stellar presence at least fits the film’s Holbein-meets-Annie Leibovitz colour palette; let’s call it the Vanity Fayre look.Polite, well-made, adequately performed, moderately paced – television director Justin Chadwick’s take on Philippa Gregory’s racy, trashy novel is everything you don’t want it to be. Morgan’s script is workable if skeletal and possessed of some odd turns of speech (‘Would you accept the challenge?,’ Howard asks Anne, imitating a gameshow host as he pushes her towards Henry).

The film takes itself too seriously (see the literal dark clouds over the palace) and never ignites as it should in a storm of rivalries, fear, sex and religion. There’s a 15-minute period of paranoia as Anne’s relationship with Henry (a brooding Bana, sidelined) falls to pieces and you wish there was more of this. Where are the sparks? The dirt? The sex? And where’s Cardinal Wolsey while we’re at it? Most memorable are the costumes.
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Release details

Rated:

12A

UK release:

Fri Mar 7, 2008

Duration:

115 mins

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:12
  • 4 star:6
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|40
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pac-man

Pants. Read the book which I really enjoyed. This was hacked to peices with no real sense of attachment to the caracters. Didn't really care what happened to them. Stilted 'English' accents didn't help either.

Jackie

I haven't read the book, or studied the period, so I'm commenting on this purely as a film when I say it was very disappointing. There was so much potential to be good, firstly with the talented cast (Natalie Portman is utterly amazing when she hits her stride) and with the material, but it just never went up a gear. It was just reasonably engaging, keeping you watching while you waited for something to explode, but as massive historical events slipped quietly by with seemingly little drama, you started to realise that it wasn't going to happen. Bana was a fairly bland Henry, failing to capture the charm or charisma of a king who utterly embodied the concept of courtly romance (ok, I have studied the period a wee bit), and he displayed no real sense of passion or frustration in his relationship with Anne. The only relationship that seemed at all developed was his one with Mary, which built very sweetly from their first night together, and then culminated in his poignant letter to her after she begged him to spare Anne. Perhaps that was intentional, as the title of the novel/film suggests a shift in focus from Anne onto Mary, but the opportunity for a great contrast between the two sisters’ relationships with the king was sorely missed by the lack of chemistry or sparks between Anne and Henry. On a positive note, the costumes were great ;-)

Lou

I cant believe they missed so much out and left so much rubbish in. Raping Anne was ridiculous, as were the massive plot holes such as Carey not dieing, catherine not being born - and yet mentioned later, the meeting at hever in thebeginiing. It was all awful. And why was anne walking around with her hair covered one day and not the next when unmaried? Surely she would not have had it covered at all? ih. And how did her and henrys wedding come from nowhere? where was the 6 year courtship in which she shined above all other women?

natisha

I thought the movie was better than I thought it would be. Plus the scenes were amazing. But it was good. Worth a watch..

natisha

I thought the movie was better than I thought it would be. Plus the scenes were amazing. But it was good. Worth a watch..

Hannah

Loved this film, very sexy. Natalie Portman is fab as always and Eric Bana hawt!

Hannah

Loved this film, very sexy. Natalie Portman is fab as always and Eric Bana hawt!

jannarta

I thought that the film kept to the truth of the matter veryclosely and the costumes are magniticant. the role playing was convincing and set data accurate. Photography and dolly work superb with distant shots in focus with the foreground like your real eyes. I went with a bunch of female students taking A level History and I thought Henry 8th was a MONSTER IN REAL LIFE, and should have been castrated for what he did to the women.JANNARTA.

jannarta

I thought that the film kept to the truth of the matter veryclosely and the costumes are magniticant. the role playing was convincing and set data accurate. Photography and dolly work superb with distant shots in focus with the foreground like your real eyes. I went with a bunch of female students taking A level History and I thought Henry 8th was a MONSTER IN REAL LIFE, and should have been castrated for what he did to the women.JANNARTA.

Ozzie Colchester

I thought the film was fantastic. I watched it on 25th March and was totally engrossed throughout. It captured the reality of history and its hidden agendas. What a story. I bet there are many history boffs that didn't realise the 'true' story of Jane and Anne Boleyn. I for one didn't. Enthralling! Can't wait until the dvd comes out in the shops!

Ozzie Colchester

I thought the film was fantastic. I watched it on 25th March and was totally engrossed throughout. It captured the reality of history and its hidden agendas. What a story. I bet there are many history boffs that didn't realise the 'true' story of Jane and Anne Boleyn. I for one didn't. Enthralling! Can't wait until the dvd comes out in the shops!

winnie

really interesting anne was really nasty ! reccomend to those who have a box of tissues in hand .beautifully filmed .can't wait to read the book

winnie

really interesting anne was really nasty ! reccomend to those who have a box of tissues in hand .beautifully filmed .can't wait to read the book

mystery lady

i didn't think it would be any good but i actually really enjoyed it! i would recommend to anyone. there were a few good actors in it which stood out to me.

mystery lady

i didn't think it would be any good but i actually really enjoyed it! i would recommend to anyone. there were a few good actors in it which stood out to me.

M

I can see why the likes of illiterate girls who posted their comments here liked this film. It is just the right level of shallowness and fool-hardiness for such viewers. I agree with Ella and Collette, it was awful. But I guess it’s our fault that we expected something good from it. I’ve never seen an adequate adaptation of a good book by Hollywood especially where history is concerned. For those who say historic representation is not important provided the costumes are good, why don’t you go and watch some TV commercials instead. They are just about as deep as this film.

Briannarchy

Deeply disappointed. Why does Scarlett Johanssen have to look vacant the whole time and why does she never close her mouth? Eric Bana didn't convince me as Henry and was pretty one dimensional. By the end of the film my friend and I were cringeing - particularly when Scarlett rushes through the court shouting 'give me the child'....what a missed opportunity...

Ella

I have never been so disappointed in a film. An utter waste of time. The film does in no way justice to the book. The storyline has been twisted and changed so much it's hard to recognise the original story. A story which is being told over a decade and more, a story in which the love for the queen as well as the king torments Mary, a story which portrays her struggle between love and hate for her family and her husband (who rather inconveniently doesn't die in the movie - has noone thought about how she's able to marry Stafford when she's not been widowed yet???) Ommitting one of Mary's children and several of Anne's miscarriages, ommitting the years of torment and struggle of Henry to free himself of Katherine and also ommitting George's love for another man... There is so much missing in this movie it's a surprise it can still claim to be based on P. Gregory's novel.

Joe

I thought the film was truly schmutz. Worst film in history!

Robert

For people who have not read the book and/or have not studied the period in which this film is set then you will find it very entertaining. Admittedly i am not one for history, and i think because of my lack of deep knowledge alowed me to enjoy this film for what is was. In short, if your not a a lover of details in History, you will thoroughly enjoy the film^^

Robert

For people who have not read the book and/or have not studied the period in which this film is set then you will find it very entertaining. Admittedly i am not one for history, and i think because of my lack of deep knowledge alowed me to enjoy this film for what is was. In short, if your not a a lover of details in History, you will thoroughly enjoy the film^^

Anne

I've read all I can get my hands on about Anne Boleyn and think this movie is very well done. Couldn't stand the book - or finish it. But though this movie, and Natalie's protrayal of Anne to be very satisfactory. They took some liberties like Henry raping Anne and the close call with incest - but hey, who knows? Maybe it did happen that way? Gotta see more of Bana.

JANE BRAWN

This was a fabulous film, stop picking holes in the history content, it wasn`t meant to be a history lesson, take it for waht it was a story put into film, Natalie Portman was superb,watch it and lose yourself in the drama and amazing costumes, after all it is suppose to be entertainment, go entertain yourselves.

charlotte

If you really want dirt and porn go out and buy paris hilton's sex video. It's not going to have sex in it because it's rated 12A. And as for the 'no aging in the short amount of time' if your on a short budget then it's not going to show every little bit of the story. also there's not enough historical information saying EXACTLY what happened. not to mention once you say that a movie or album, ect. is coming out by this date then you have to have it out by that date otherwise i think it's you either get sued or the movie files are taken away from them. if you were under pressure like that you wouldn't put every little detail in!

charlotte

If you really want dirt and porn go out and buy paris hilton's sex video. It's not going to have sex in it because it's rated 12A. And as for the 'no aging in the short amount of time' if your on a short budget then it's not going to show every little bit of the story. also there's not enough historical information saying EXACTLY what happened. not to mention once you say that a movie or album, ect. is coming out by this date then you have to have it out by that date otherwise i think it's you either get sued or the movie files are taken away from them. if you were under pressure like that you wouldn't put every little detail in!

Colette

I have never in my life been treated like such an idiot viewer by a screenplay writer. I read the book and loved it; for all its trashiness, it was still full of all the lovely grim stuff you would expect from a setting at the Tudor court. But the film... Well, to say it was dumbed down is an understatement. Were we to assume that everything happened in a short space of time and that nobody aged? The novel brilliantly shows the contrast between Henry's young court; full of jousting, merriment and male bonding, and his later, darker, fatter years. And yet, the film was portrayed in what seemed like like one bleak shot. The character of Mary should have narrated as she does in the novel to give the viewer a better understanding of her and her relationship with her sister. Indeed I think it was a crime that Morgan never thought of this. My favourite line in the whole film came from the Boleyn mother ( magically turned in to quite a nice sympathetic women to keep the audience happy) who said "that wuold mean breaking with Catholic church?!" Really? Never! Not that there were many other churches around at that time... This film was, as usual, watered down and idiot proof. A complete shambles that is an insult to Phillipa Gregory.

Tom McMaster

Interesting historical drama with some fine performances, none better than Natalie Portman, who plays Anne Boleyn to perfection, complemented extremely well by Scarlett Johannson. Eric Bana also plays Henry to perfection. This film is well worth a look.

CHARLOTTE

i went with my friend and we found it trully great. The costumes and actors/actresses played great parts and allough it was slightly rushed would u have sat their for several hours just to see all the nitty griity. We are both 15 and found it highly interesting and a great love story.

CHARLOTTE

i went with my friend and we found it trully great. The costumes and actors/actresses played great parts and allough it was slightly rushed would u have sat their for several hours just to see all the nitty griity. We are both 15 and found it highly interesting and a great love story.

Brian

My wife and I enjoyed the film very much. Take no notice of the two stars review from many critics . . . if you enjoy historical dramas and don't nitpik on fine details you will enjoy this. We thought it just as good as Elizabeth, the Golden Age. Go see it!

Brian

My wife and I enjoyed the film very much. Take no notice of the two stars review from many critics . . . if you enjoy historical dramas and don't nitpik on fine details you will enjoy this. We thought it just as good as Elizabeth, the Golden Age. Go see it!

Sarah B

Saw this film last night and what a lot of pap it was. Talk about playing fast and loose with history! I wasn't expecting a documentary but it really was shameful, Pretty costumes though

Matt

I tend to agree with the reviewer. I found the film to be mildly entertaining, and the insight in to the story from Anne Boleyn's view was interesting, however the script and the performances lacked excitement and conviction. Scarlett Johanssen's Mary in particular was fairly weak. I wanted much more from Natalie Portman's Anne, but ultimately felt that she did her best with a script that very much seemed like Footballers Wives in the sixteenth century. Whenever a scene got vagueley interesting, the action moved on several months with little character development, giving a sense of spoon feeding the key information to the audeince in order to rush the film to its conclusion. All in all, quite disappointing. I had high hopes for this film.

Ray Jubb

An excellent production and insight into an important period of English history. Good casting and presented in an atmospheric environment in which the viewer could certainly feel taken back to the ways of court life and their personal development, and downfall, at any cost. Maybe some of the omissions, mentioned by this critic, were important, but did not detract from a most enjoyable and enlightening experience resulting from this relatively short film.

Ray Jubb

An excellent production and insight into an important period of English history. Good casting and presented in an atmospheric environment in which the viewer could certainly feel taken back to the ways of court life and their personal development, and downfall, at any cost. Maybe some of the omissions, mentioned by this critic, were important, but did not detract from a most enjoyable and enlightening experience resulting from this relatively short film.

aaron

i agree with the above writes that review just does not do the film justice i think it is a very enticing tale that all shud see and if dave who ever wishes to see dirt and sparks maby he should go to a bonfirenight show and as for the sex well is that what u would say to put in all films theres not enough sex in it for hevens sake this film is a inspiration not a porno and i think everyone should give it the chance it deserves

freya

I think the reviewer misses the point of Justin Chadwicks production. It is a fairy tale and really good fun. However, if he wants to see a dark, visceral, dirty, sexy, fabulous, cool, daring, innovative version of The Other Boleyn Girl he should get hold of a copy of the highly acclaimed BBC TV version which starred Jodhi May and Natasha Macelhone and Jared Harris - all who give stunning performances. This exceptional film, made on a tiny budget, is much more sophisticated and truly gripping. The critics loved it. Let's hope it comes out on dvd here as it is in the states.

arnold hunt

The bad tempered review above by dave calhoun does not begin to do justice to the quality of this film. All right there may be no 'sparks, dirt or sex' - well it is restrained even understated but many of the most formidable emotions are best delineated thus. In fact everyone acts their socks off and the performances are uniformly thrilling - even the smaller parts for example when hapless queen catherine passes the two sisters in one of the corridors of court and remarks 'Ah! the Boleyn whores' I defy anyone not to be moved at her humiliation. How absurd that your reviewer should think the film would be improved by the presence of cardinal wolsey! the film is about the two sisters for heavens sake. See it - once you are over the first few minutes in which there are some glaring anachronisms of dialogue it is a marvellous thing.