- TV Movie
- 3h 13min
Two part mini-series documenting the stormy thirty-eight-year reign of King Henry VIII.Two part mini-series documenting the stormy thirty-eight-year reign of King Henry VIII.Two part mini-series documenting the stormy thirty-eight-year reign of King Henry VIII.
It did have numerous strong points. Firstly, some of the wives came across particularly well. Helena Bonham Carter gave perhaps the best Anne Boleyn to date (it would be a battle with Dame Dorothy Tutin for the title), sticking to what is known about the real woman, whilst still giving a very moving performance. Katherine Parr, however brief her appearance may have been, was another winner in this production, as this is the first time her character has been accurately and well portrayed.
The acting was very good overall, but Ray Winstone stuck out a little as the King. The rest of the cast were in Tudor mode, poshing it up and giving it their all, whilst he stuck to his usual cockney gangster style. However, this aside, he did portray the King well and was the first Henry VIII to date to show any form of remorse or concern following the execution of Anne Boleyn.
However there were short falls. The single biggest problem was that it was all too glamourised - did we really need to see the executioner hold up Anne Boleyn's severed head? Did they really need to alter history and have the Queens beheaded before baying crowds, just for that dramatic effect?
There were also some questionable interpretations of history. The Duke of Norfolk's role in Catherine Howard's downfall has been altered completely here (again, all done for thrills). Some scenes were very badly juxta-posed - to any viewer unfamiliar with the history behind this story, the film would give them the impression Jane Seymour had died after been punched in the face and thrown on the floor by her violent husband.
Just as some wives came across well, the rest came across very badly. Katherine of Aragon, rather than the respected and virtuous woman history paints a picture of, is an incessant whinge here - there's nothing likeable at all in her. Anne of Cleves appears twice, but doesn't utter a word in either scene, so she doesn't come across at all. Jane Seymour was wooden - the portrayal of her arouses no feelings whatsoever.
To summarise, it's all very glitsy and modern. The story is mistold in many key places. The only thing that really makes this worth watching is the star performance from Helena Bonham Carter. If you really want to see this story well told, invest some time and patience in watching the complete 1970 TV series 'The Six Wives of Henry VIII'.
- Oct 20, 2003