The Other Boleyn Girl Justin Chadwick

The Other Boleyn Girl Justin Chadwick
Like the Coles Notes of fictionalised history, The Other Boleyn Girl skips through time like a stone on a summer lake. The reality of the convoluted love triangle between Anne Boleyn, her sister Mary and King Henry VIII is stripped down to a series of vignettes that forgo narrative continuity and historical accuracy in favour of dramatic romanticism and a misguided female power fantasy. The famous story of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn has been told many times, though The Other Boleyn Girl puts more focus on Henry’s relationship with Mary Boleyn prior to falling for her sister Anne. For those who don’t know the history, the story goes like this: Henry (Eric Bana) takes Mary (Scarlett Johansson) as his mistress when his wife Katherine (Ana Torrent) fails to provide him a male heir. Henry tires of Mary and wants to take her sister Anne (Natalie Portman) as his mistress but she rejects him and he decides to divorce his wife so he can take her as his wife instead. But since Henry can’t get a divorce under the Catholic church, he breaks away from Rome, starts the Church of England, gets his divorce, marries Anne and pisses off a lot of people in the process. Then Henry gets bored with Anne, charges her with adultery and treason, and cuts off her head so that he can marry Jane Seymour. Not being a diligent student of history, I can’t speak for the accuracy of The Other Boleyn Girl but the portrayal of Henry VIII as a man easily manipulated by a pretty face seems suspect. There is no question that he risked severe political fallout in order to marry Anne Boleyn but it is doubtful that his decision was solely due to Anne’s manipulative, womanly charms. It seems far more likely that Henry was a man who always got what he wanted, regardless of obstacles and politics, as the subsequent beheading and forced annulments of his later wives hint at. The DVD features are sparse but the "Character Biographies” feature historians filling in some info on the figures for those who need a little more background to make sense of the fractured storyline. Despite its shortcomings, The Other Boleyn Girl is watchable for people who like historical fiction but the narrative license and fragmented story may aggravate history buffs and the average moviegoer. For a more detailed and interesting take on the same story, the Showtime series The Tudors is a better bet in terms of entertainment value, if not historical accuracy. (Sony)