The Other Boleyn Girl
Rated PG-13; Directed by Justin Chadwick; Starring Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman, Eric Bana, Kristin Scott Thomas, David Morrissey, Mark Rylance, Ana Torrent
Sex! Love! Beheadings! Ah, there is nothing like a historical soap opera, especially an historical soap opera that uses real history. Face it, love or marriage with King Henry VIII of England was never boring. It certainly turns out that way for the young Boleyn girls.
Sisters Mary and Anne Boleyn, played by Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman, find themselves at the mercy of their father’s plans. First, he marries Mary off to a merchant family, while planning something grander for his elder daughter, Anne. Those plans eventually include bringing Anne to King Henry’s (Eric Bana) attention. At first, Anne is dismayed at sacrificing herself to the King just to improve her family’s status, but begins to find it an attractive idea. Unfortunately, for both Anne and Mary, it all plays out differently when Henry arrives at the Boleyn manor.
Costumed beautifully, the cast gives it their all. From Scarlett Johansson’s wimpy Mary to Natalie Portman’s scheming Anne, the actors seem to enjoy playing up the courtly passion. Eric Bana is fine as the young king who is tempted by both women. It all makes for an entertaining movie. The film even throws some history lessons into the mix, though offered perfunctorily. Filmed on many of the historical locations, the movie is also interesting to look at. It’s also rather uninvolving. It’s fun to watch, but doesn’t get into your gut like some movies do.
The Other Boleyn Girl is a pleasant time at the movie theatres. There is passion, love, and the formation of the Church of England. Not many romantic dramas can offer all that, but this movie can.