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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