The Other Boleyn Girl (12A)
Keep it in your codpiece, Henry
Sunday 27 April 2008
It was an easy life, being a Tudor noble. With no battles or politics or angry peasants to concern you, there was nothing to do except stroll around court, showing off your fabulously ornate doublet and hose, and nothing to think about except who was in bed with the King. That's the impression you get from The Other Boleyn Girl, a Renaissance soap opera in which the frocks are heavy, colourful and gorgeously embroidered, but everything else is black and white and threadbare.
Adapted from Philippa Gregory's novel, the film stars Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn and Scarlett Johansson as her lesser known sister, Mary (pictured). Their parents, Mark Rylance and Kristin Scott Thomas, and their uncle, David Morrissey, hope that the coquettish Anne could be the new mistress of Henry VIII, Eric Bana, but it's the demure Mary who catches his eye.
Though she is supposedly in a loving marriage, it takes her parents 15 seconds to persuade her to trade up. But Anne won't be sidelined that easily. She's determined to be the Queen of England if it's the last thing she does.
Even though it edits out almost everything about Henry's reign that occurred outside his bedchamber, The Other Boleyn Girl still has too much to get through, so it gallops from short scene to short scene, as if it were a two-hour trailer for a much longer film, and the dialogue has no time to do anything except summarise the situation. My favourite example is when Anne gripes, "Why doesn't he just annul his marriage?" "No. That would mean breaking with the Church of Rome," comes the reply, presumably straight out of an O-level essay that screenwriter, Peter Morgan, found in a bottom drawer.
Neither he nor the actors get any rounded characterisation into the triangle, leaving viewers unsure of who they're supposed to care about: the nakedly venomous Anne, the nauseatingly passive Mary, or the dopey pushover Henry, who's willing to reject his religion and his only son for any wench who won't sleep with him on the first date.
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
- 2 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 Optical illusion turns blue demon into brunette
- 4 Right to die: Belgian doctors rule depressed 24-year-old woman has right to end her life
- 5 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
Top 20 films that make you feel good
This is surely the best way to watch Jaws
19 British bands signed to indie labels are getting government grants to help them make it big abroad
James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
What if Nicolas Cage played every character in Game of Thrones?
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts