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24 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Jodhi May is on the verge of major stardom

Author: zippysatellite from zippyville
11 April 2003

This is an excellent and daring adaptation of Philippa Gregory's novel of the same name. Purists of costume drama may be put off by the decidedly modern approach, but that shouldn't stop anyone from enjoying this particular peek inside the personal tug of war for position within Henry VIII's court.

The casting of Jodhi May as Anne Boleyn was surprising only upon seeing how very provocative and determined her Anne was. WOW! Ms. May charts a remarkable course from naive young love to ruthless ambition to ultimate dismay and regret. A better performance has not been seen on television this year, and I dare say won't be.

This isn't a grand sweeping picture of 16th c. England. It's an intimate look at two young sisters used as pawns by their ambitious family to gain reward from their king. It navigates the particular delicacy of sisterly love and hate and doesn't allow the fact that one of those sisters is one of England's most notorious historical figures to hold them back from exploring every emotional crevice of their tale.

Ultimately, this may be more pulp than fact, and it's clearly wort watching for Jodhi May alone, but also for Jared Harris as Henry VIII. His Henry moves beyond cliche and comes alive as the young, athletic, handsome man he was known to be before succumbing to gluttony.

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24 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Television Should Always Be So Compelling!

Author: sydneypatrick from USA
11 April 2003

Contrary to what the other reviewer here states, this was not meant to be a sweeping vision of history. It was clearly meant as a chamber piece - a chick flick of dark proportions.

While this production does not begin to embrace the scope of Anne's criminal nature, or the greater national ramifications that became of her union with Henry VIII, it doesn't aim to. What it does do, however, is paint a poignant portrait of what it was to be a woman in the 16th century, and how ruthless those days in court were.

I'm a fan of the novel this is based on and am hugely thrilled by this adaptation. It is bold and striking and the lead performance by Jodhi May is one of the most compelling I have ever seen anywhere. It should certainly act as her calling card to producers everywhere that she is more than ready to make the transition from ingenue to adult role. By this performance, I'd say she made the leap long ago.

Jared Harris turns in a dead on performance as the Tudor king who became a tyrant and not the least bit because of his union with Anne Boleyn. The rest in the cast paled in comparison to these two, but that does not mean they turned in poor performances. To the contrary, this was a top notch production I wish greater American audiences could see.

The only glitch for me was toward the end when there is video footage of modern day England, tourists at the Tower of London. I don't get it. But I can forgive one small moment in light of the greater ambition and success of this project.

Period drama should always be so delicious!

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21 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Entertaining, but not accurate

Author: inamourada_flux from Hertfordshire, England, UK
23 November 2004

If you're looking for historical accuracy, this is not the place to find it. Although entertaining, the plot (amongst other things), is flawed. In the novel, Philippa Gregory seems to portray Anne Boleyn as a bit of a ruthless strumpet with no brains, and Mary appears as some kind of angelic victim, where history states the opposite.

However, it is supposed to be a romantic fiction, and this is achieved well in the TV adaptation.

Jodhi May portrays Anne as passionate and strong-willed - overall an excellent performance. Natasha McElhone's meek representation of Mary certainly gives her credit as a fantastic actress.

Jared Harris plays Henry, and to be honest I wasn't convinced (then again, Keith Michell is the only man I can picture as the king, so I may be somewhat biased). Harris just didn't seem as harsh and regal as I imagine Henry to have been.

I was very impressed by Steven Mackintosh's depiction of Anne and Mary's brother, George Boleyn. His performance during the scene where Anne and Mary are trying to convince him into incest is especially worth seeing, and this really 'brought the character to life' for me, as I never really pondered on his influence before.

What 'The Other Boleyn Girl' does succeed in, is portraying the Boleyn family's ambitious attempts in using Anne and Mary as pawns to grasp the crown, thus obtaining social power via the favour of the King.

Though it seems to tone down the Tudor court in appearance (the costumes are unrealistically plain), this adaptation certainly gives you an idea of the malevolence during the court at the time.

Overall, a nice film to watch. I wouldn't recommend it to history nuts who are likely to complain at the inaccuracy, but it is enjoyable, and well worth watching nonetheless.

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Very bad adaptation

Author: chips76309 from USA
1 July 2009

I am not a fan of the original book but was expecting to see a better adaptation than the Natalie Portman movie, which I found awful. This version is even worse.

First, there is very little of Ms. Gregory's book in this script. The whole subplot of George Boleyn's sexuality is completely eliminated and in this version George is merely a flunky shuttling between his duty to the Boleyn family and his duty to the King. I thought the title of the book referred to Mary as the lesser-known of the Boleyn sisters, but here it is used to refer to Anne.

Second, the script has the characters periodically address the audience as if in confession. Apparently this is intended to give a bit of back story and explain their motives, but it is amateurish in execution.

On top of the bad script, the direction is stunningly bad. There are too many shots done with a circling camera which is none-too-steady at best and downright shaky at worst. Several of the speeches are delivered tentatively, as if in a first rehearsal. The production values for Henry's flamboyant court are minimal. The costumes vary: some are copies of historical portraits and others are from some costume designer's fevered imagination. And the King, the source of all power and favors, is often shown ALONE. No fawning courtiers, no servants in the background - where are all the people?? I am accustomed to Hollywood turning history into fantasy, but I expected better from a BBC production. Even based on a flawed book this production is BAD.

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

A stylish, unusual and absorbing TV movie

Author: princess_stomper from United Kingdom
26 July 2004

The ever-dependable Steven Mackintosh and Natascha McElhone turned in solid performances to back up Jodhi May's powerful portrayal of the Tudor monarch. Jared Harris' Henry VIII managed to be sympathetic, seductive and tyrannical in turn. The unusual talking-to-camera, reality TV-style direction was a feature that really ought not to have worked but somehow did. As a depiction of the ruthless politics and intrigue of the medieval court, the movie succeeded very well. One word said out of place and heads, quite literally, would roll. A historical film could be said to be good if it increases interest in its subject matter. This fascinating and complex story is sufficient to have the laziest viewer reaching for the history books by the time the closing credits appear.

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:


Author: sapphogrlu from United States
25 July 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie was included in the Six Wives of Henry VIII BBC miniseries DVD. I loved those six movies. They were well-acted, well-scripted, and historically accurate. I did actually read Gregory's book and liked it well enough despite it's HUGE historical inaccuracies (I mean the whole fake homosexual angle with George Boleyn in particular), but this movie didn't even mention that. That angle was one of the pivotal points of the book.

Above all this movie just leaves me asking "WHY?" Why do we see, as someone else aptly put, "The Real World: Tudor England"? Why are the camera angles so bad in general?

Why is the script so bad? I mean, I know it was improv, but come on! The actors at time stutter and stammer over their lines and it's obvious that they're making them up as they go along.

Why are the sex scenes so awkward? The way they were done in the book made them at least somewhat interesting. In the movie they're just bad, verging on being absolutely hilarious. At one point, the actress playing Mary Boleyn was having sex with the actor playing Henry VIII. He's thrusting away and she's got this look on her face that says "Hm....I need to go to the store. Is he done yet? Maybe if he finishes I can go pick up some cheese real quick..." It's just bad.

Why does Catherine of Aragon play such a small role in this movie? Her refusal to get a divorce was one of the leading causes for the scandal that rocked Christiandom. She's the reason why Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn couldn't get immediately married. Why is she not present here? Over all, this movie is just bad.

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

This is a film worth wile seeing. But don't expect to see a conventional historical epic.

Author: pulp150 from the netherlands
22 January 2004

I have mixed feelings about this film. I appreciated the use of color, it represents the harshness of the time. It's a nice change to see a period piece that's not glamorous. I can imagine it's tempting to make the good looking cast even better looking. The confessions in the camera I didn't understand. I do understand it was an

attempt to make it more intimate. But I don't think it workout that well here. I consider it to modern. It works in comedy like 'the private life of Samuel Pepys'. There it was brilliant. Maybe they could've used a confession setting for these scene's instead of putting them into a room speaking to the camera. And used

more close-ups instead of medium shots. That would make it more intimate and


The acting is superb! I enjoyed to see Jodhi May paying a wicked woman for a

change. She portrayed Anne Boleyn very good Her sick and cruel pleasure to

torture her family by for example trying to marry of her sister to a fat ugly man. Her frightening ambition and abuse of power is portrayed brilliantly.

The actor who played Henry and the actress who played Mary were also

brilliant. The rest of the cast were very complementary to the leading ladies and man.

Very good.

This is not a story about one person. It's about relations between people. This movie explains why Mary survived.

This is really a film worth wile seeing. But don't expect to see a conventional historical epic.

Voted 8

- A-M ---- English is not my first language so please excuse my spelling and grammar


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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Tudor Court as 'Big Brother'

Author: wpc22 from United Kingdom
2 October 2004

Some strong performances, but with some irritating features. The hand-held camera effects - a bit like 'This Life', I felt, with lots of cutting back and forth - and then asides to camera as though Anne and Mary Boleyn were nipping off to the 'Big Brother' Diary room.

A more important flaw was the lack of development of the religious or political themes - these were seen as background to purely personal conflicts - and, other than early in the film when the Boleyn family are shown discussing how to maintain influence at court - not the driving force behind events.

The 'break with Rome' - for example - is mentioned in passing by Anne in a 'Diary Room' episode as though it is about as significant as next week's BB evictions, rather than as a defining episode in European history.

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12 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

See THIS one - NOT the new Hollywood remake!

Author: catflap
3 March 2008

An extraordinary tale of sex, passion and royal intrigue, this is the little-known story of Mary Boleyn, who was mistress to King Henry VIII before he married her sister, Anne. Set during one of the most notorious periods in British regal history, at its heart is the relationship between two rivals - the Boleyn sisters. Starring Jodhi May, Natascha McElhone, Jared Harris and Steven Mackintosh.

If you want superb acting quality together with historical accuracy, this is the one to see.

If you prefer an over-rated, second-class, Americanized remake then go for the Hollywood fluff version. This one will be over your head.

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Not even close to the truth

Author: glenn-125 from Canada
2 August 2005

This movie twists the facts of Anne and Mary's lives into something unrecognizable. To make Mary Boleyn, who in fact was a rather dim and foolish creature, and make her the "good" sister is just silly. It is Anne who was in fact the far more interesting character, and that is why it is her life, and not Mary's, that has been told so often.

In response to an earlier review, I fail to see how Anne's life was so "criminal"... to me it's Henry who was the real criminal. Whatever Anne's motives for winning the king and withholding her affections in order to gain a crown and husband has to be taken into context of the time in which these real-life events took place. Anne, in comparison to the majority of most of the courtiers in her time, was a relatively innocent figure. Most modern historians discount or have disproven most of the myths and slanders that this movie perpetuate about her, and I have never heard of anyone who actually believes the rumour than she slept with her brother. This movie is so sensational and false that it is maddening to think that someone, without knowing anything about this period in history, could walk away believing anything this movie has presented as "fact".

I won't even get into the weird filming of the movie... but I'm pretty sure that cameras weren't invented in the 16th century, so I don't understand why Anne and Mary are talking to one throughout the movie... it's a really bad plot devise and is jarring and annoying, to put it mildly.

Anne of the Thousand Days is not accurate either, but is infinitely more entertaining and at least comes closer to telling the story of one of the most intriguing women of history. Don't even think about renting this.. it's two hours you'll never get back!

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