The Other Boleyn Girl (2008) Poster

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Eh... Nice costumes and sets
dollparts12155 March 2008
If you want a good movie about Henry VIII and Anne Bolyen, rent Anne of the Thousand Days. That was a film that used history to tell a story about real people who had a love to change a nation.

In this version of the eponymous Phillipa Gregory novel, historical inaccuracies abound. Approximately fifteen years are compressed into two hours with no indication time has gone by except for various babies. None of the characters ever change or grow any older. The characters in this movie are completely one-sided. Anne is ambitious. Henry is a womanizer. Mary is simple. No one has any complexities. The sisterly rivalry plays out like an underdeveloped soap opera.

On the other hand, the film is engaging and the costumes lovely. Same with the gorgeous palace settings.

Eye candy it is. Truthful or realistic it isn't.
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Outrageously Inaccurate
venessalewis29 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The "Other Boleyn Girl" hit theaters today, and of course, I was in for the first showing. I've been anticipating this movie for over 2 years now, ever since I first heard it was in production.

Why can't directors seem to get it right when it comes to this time period?I understand completely the Hollywood concept of "dramatic" flair for the big screen. But there is a difference between "dramatic flair" and complete revisionist history. This movie makes the HBO series, "The Tudors" seem like a BBC documentary as far as factual information is concerned.

Now, the director is not all to blame. Phillippa Gregory does a damn good job of distorting the truth in this alternate interpretation of the story of Anne Boleyn. Her portrayal of Anne as ruthlessly ambitious and downright devilish is at odds with the softer portrayals favored by Jean Plaidy and other authors of this period. Anne's own diaries would suggest her true personality to be more of the unwilling victim and royal pawn in the schemes cooked up by her ambitious male relatives. Only when she discovered that her path in life would be to submit or face death or exile does she succumb to Henry's advances.

The opening scenes of the movie concern how Anne and Henry met. Well, there is debate on this, the movie selects Hever. I'll allow that. But this first it was most certainly not in front of the whole court and followed by a hunt in which Henry takes a tumble, to be nursed back to health by Mary, Anne's OLDER sister (the movie and book portrays her as the younger sister-this is false). Anne's ambitions are apparent from this very day, she indeed seems to find her father and uncle's schemes appealing and agrees to "hunt" his majesty. Hardly the case in reality. Anne was in love with and betrothed to Henry Percy at the time of her first meeting with Henry. The movie has it backwards. She does not "settle" for Percy only after Mary has "stolen" Henry. Another extremely annoying point of order here….Cardinal Wolsey is completely absent from this film. This is such a blaring error as to render the movie completely abominable. Wolsey is such a force in the entire drama, from the arrangement of the marriage AND the divorce, to all matters of state and religion in between…to leave him out is both amateur and foolish, not to mention a missed opportunity for much needed plot thickening.

Running through the laundry list of other inaccuracies….Anne was not EXILED to France because she fumbled her attempt to seduce Henry. This is utterly ridiculous. It is well known that both Anne and Mary practically grew up in the French court from the time they were 12 to their late teens. Only then did the sisters join the English court, much less begin their dramas with the king. And she was not brought back to entertain Henry whilst Mary lay in with his child. Again…Anne most strongly wanted to marry her first love, Henry Percy, Duke of Northumberland. But once Henry had set his eyes upon her and chose to make her his own, then and only then were her uncle and father's schemes put into motion. Their original intentions were to milk the long-going affair of her sister Mary for all it was worth.

Now, as for the "incest" theory. Gregory is taking a huge risk here by suggesting that the allegation levied upon Anne and her brother George was indeed founded in truth, borne out of Anne's desperation to get with child after her miscarriage. I do believe Anne was desperate to get pregnant quickly, and she was very close to her brother…but this is a huge leap, and one true historians would never make. It also suggest that something other than Henry's brute desires were at play here when he charged them with treason, which is not the case. He simply wanted to be rid of Anne, to beget a male heir off of his next mistress.

And good gracious…what of the rape scene? Not only is this disturbing, but so far fetched. Although Anne resisted for years, when she finally gave in to Henry, she did believe herself to be in love with him…or at the very least, resigned to accept her fate. And Henry was completely besotted with her….why else would he break from Rome, Catholicism and risk his kingdom for anything less? No, he would not have raped Anne for their first sexual encounter. He was a brute, but he was most concerned of his image of the romantic courtier when it came to women's affections.

Finally, a note on the characters. Portman does an acceptable job portraying the character from the book…even though this character is not the true Anne Boleyn. Johannson makes a lovely Mary…and probably quite close to the real woman. As for Bana…a sore disappointment. Bad casting, bad acting. Is this the same Bana of the acclaimed Munich and Troy? Where was the range? He comes across as flat and not well studied. Jonathon Rhys Meyers of the HBO Tudors blows him out of the water on all levels….sensuality, intensity and evil as Henry the 8th.

Why can't I just watch these movies and leave feeling entertained? I don't quite know…I care too much about 15th century England for some reason. It became hardwired in me after watching Anne of the Thousand Days as a young girl. No Tudor movie since then has gotten close in accuracy or sheer entertainment since then. Burton and Bujold are classic and untouchable. But after watching this hack job, I have to say I am looking forward to the new season of the Tudors on HBO.
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Sometimes the Truth is Stranger Than Fiction
divadrummer16 March 2008
A quick glimpse at the Tudor family line on Wikipedia will yield hundreds of years of made-for-movie material, but none quite as compelling as the story of Anne Boleyn. Pair a classic story with airy language, beautiful sets and costumes, and some A-list names and you have Oscar magic in the making. Right? Well, not always. We've seen it before and we're not necessarily impressed with royalty anymore. The Other Boleyn Girl offers new perspectives and dramatic angles on the saga of wives that is Henry VIII's legacy, but nearly drowns in melodrama.

And it's not entirely the movie's fault. Boleyn Girl follows the story of both Anne (Natalie Portman) and Mary (Scarlett Johansson) Boleyn and their relationship with the English court. King Henry VIII (Eric Bana) has trouble producing a male heir, so the Boleyn family offers their daughter Anne to bed. When Henry has a hunting accident due to Anne's carelessness, he is nursed and subsequently charmed by innocent Mary. But Mary is already married, so the King promotes her husband and sends the couple to court where he can meet with Mary whenever he pleases. Mary falls in love with Henry and becomes his mistress. Anne, the elder sister, is scorned by what she believes is her sister's ultimate betrayal, and plots revenge. The two continue on in these roles for some time, swapping places in bed with Henry and spurting out babies while their relatives egg them on. This isn't quite how things went down in reality, but the changes are minor and seem necessary to condense the timeline and create at least one sympathetic character.

The Other Boleyn Girl fares best when it's exploring the relationship between Anne and Mary. This isn't the first story of sister rivalry, but the dynamic between Anne and Mary is extraordinarily well-played. Their previous roles and their public images make Portman and Johansson perfect fits. We believe Portman to be intelligent and coy, and Johansson to be naive and desired. More - we believe these roles might be easily reversed. As sisters, their relationship is deeply disturbing: they love each other, they hate each other, they're unable to escape the expectations placed upon them by their family. As an older sister (with an admittedly not-as-screwed-up relationship), I found this portrayal very realistic - rich with emotion and complex meaning.

I wish I could say the rest of the movie was as artful. There's constant allusion and foreshadowing to the Boleyn demise through use of visual and editing metaphors. If some details were twisted, other details might have been cut out - too many tear-filled scenes means that this eventually feels like a soap opera. At one point in the movie, Anne is sent off to France and comes back wearing a very distracting "B" charm, which she sports until the end of the movie. When I finally finished inventing what else "B" might stand for (besides Boleyn, there are plenty of other fits), I wondered about Anne's character. She's now praised as being changed and thus back in play, but I don't see it - she was smart and ambitious before, and only gained a bit of wit during her trip to France - certainly not the drastic change everyone seemed to be making it out to be. There are some very poorly done scenes where supporting cast spell out the politics of the situation for you. This is a little condescending and probably unnecessary, if not repetitive. The costumes are beautiful, but the matching dresses become unbelievable and even plain in places. PETA must have a field day with this movie and its use of fur and meat. You won't get to see Scarlett Johansson naked in this movie, in case you were wondering - just lots of fuzzy sex montages, weirdly full of backlit hair and fur. Katherine of Aragon (Henry VIII's first wife) is given some of the most powerful lines in the movie, but they're delivered with such woodenness that my disappointment must be made known.

The Other Boleyn Girl could be so much more. As a hyper-dramatic costume flick, it does stand out. There's more than meets your eye, and the costarring performances are not to be missed. There's a lot of material to cover in this story, but a simplified script would have helped keep this film farther away from melodrama. Especially with a true story as wild as this, there's not a lot that needs to be changed or added to grip the viewer. Any embellishments verge on destroying believability and creating situations we can't relate to.
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Mary is forever doomed to be "The Other Boelyn Girl"
YoSafBridge3 March 2008
All and all, not a particularly enjoyable film.

This movie sacrifices all that was interesting about the novel in the first place just to squeeze in all the historical aspects. All of the page turning scenes in the book that would have been interesting to see translated to screen (Anne's bloodstained dress, the deformed child, the courtship between Mary and William) were cut.

Fortuanatly, I expected that. With such a long book, I had to expect most of my favourite scenes were going to get the axe.

What I didn't expect was for the narration to change from that of Mary (aka. "The Other Boelyn Girl" for which the book was named) to yet another story about Anne Boelyn. The film started off well, if rather slow, with the story being told from Mary, but it quickly changes gears as the audience is suddenly following Anne's courtship of Henry and Anne's trials, emotions and desperation. Mary is quickly delegated to little more then a secondary role, with many key moments happening while she isn't on screen.

The story of Anne was told well, she was portrayed brilliantly by Portman, and had several fun and emotional moments. But that's just the problem, I've seen that all before. There have been dozens of films, series, and books written from Anne's point of view. If I wanted to see a story about Anne, I would have watched Anne of the Thousand Days or maybe "The Tudors" HBO series. What made this story special was it told the story behind Anne and Henry (and it was mostly fictional which added to the drama).

Unfortunately the movie ignored this, and thus failed to create the same reaction I had towards the book.

Another problem is that of characterisation, I expected that the movie would make the two sisters friends as it creates more drama towards the end as opposed to them being not particularly close like in the book. Same with the enormous changes they made in the personalities of the parents (and honestly, almost every character)I expected it. Many of the characters in the movie were actually more two-dimensional then the callous characters from the book. It wasn't as though this movie was badly acted or was just bad.

The person I was most disappointed about was George (one of my favourites in the book) who was given a woefully small role, although the actor who portrayed him did it brilliantly. Also, The character of William Stafford seemed to be added in as an afterthought which confused the audience who hadn't read the book (the two main questions I heard were "Is that the guy she married in the beginning" or "What happened to the guy she married in the beginning") and left those of us who had read the book wondering why he was portrayed as such a pansy?

And the editing, where to begin. Horrible, the particularly poignant scenes (few and far between as they were) were not given enough time to sink in before the audience was whisked off to another scene. Even having read the source material I was lost, so I can only imagine how it must have been from those new to the story.

The only bright side of this tedious film were the beautiful costumes, but even the bright colours and swirly dresses couldn't distract anyone with more then a 10 second attention span and despite them the movie soon became unbearably boring.

All in all, this movie probably shouldn't have been made in the first place. It was apparent there was too much story to tell in two hours, it had mini-series written all over it. But seeing as it had to be made for the film industry to cash in the the books success, it could have been done a lot better.
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A Film Worth Seeing for the Issues of Gender
lavatch1 March 2008
The Other Boleyn Girl is a compelling film due to the exceptional performances and the splendid costumes. Additionally, there is simply a terrific story told about the relationship of Henry VIII and the two Boleyn sisters, Anne and Mary.

Natalie Portman (Anne) and Scarlett Johansson (Mary) are outstanding as characters engaged in both sibling rivalry and sisterly bonding. In the central relationship of the sisters, the film develops the social roles and imposed limitations on women in Tudor England.

One of the film's most moving character portrayals is the mother of the two Boleyn Sisters. In the heartbreaking performance of Kristin Scott Thomas, Elizabeth Boleyn can only watch helplessly as her daughters become pawns of the greedy men (Thomas Boleyn and the Duke of Norfolk), who use the young women much like pimps in order to line their pockets and further their own advancement at court. Another sterling aspect of the film is the portrayal of Katherine of Aragon (Ana Torent), another victim of the men due to the obsessive pursuit of Henry VIII to beget a male heir, leading to his momentous divorce from Katherine and England's break with the church of Rome.

While commentators may point out the omissions of many of the details from the novel by Philippa Gregory, the film is still true to the spirit of the book. It is also a faithful representation of the role of women in Tudor age. The film effectively presents the gender issues from the perspective of many of the remarkable women of the age along with the reminder of the greatest legacy of Anne Boleyn, which was the indirect result of her relationship of Henry VIII. That legacy was the future ruler of England...and also a woman: Elizabeth I.
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Don't go expecting accuracy!
rebwt6 March 2008
Overall, the movie is entertaining. I thought the acting was good, particularly Scarlett Johansson's. The cinematography and editing leave much to be desired, and the entire movie seems rushed. If you have any knowledge of Tudor history,you will recognize the many inaccuracies, but those did not bother me as much as did the fact that important characters were omitted, undeveloped, or even seemingly forgotten (as in the case of Mary's husband, William Carey).

There ARE very affecting characters and scenes, but I left the theatre wishing for MORE. The fascinating lives of these people simply cannot be dealt with in a movie that lasts less than two hours.
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Beautifully filmed historical film that is not historical at all!
gazebo1 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I went to watch this movie knowing that even though the historical figures are real, the story is basically fiction, only Philippa Gregory's version of the tragedy of Anne Boleyn. Watching this film with this attitude really helped me enjoy it rather than be upset that all the historic characters' personalities were so distorted that they were almost unrecognizable. I suggest anyone else going to see this movie adopt this attitude too.

Sitting back, I proceeded to enjoy the scenery, the costumes, the beautiful actresses portraying the Boleyn girls and the over the top acting.

It was a fun movie and it moved along quickly. Scarlet Johansson and Natalie Portman were excellent as the Boleyn sisters. Eric Bana played a very conflicted Henry VIII who is continually frustrated by not getting a male heir. Eric Bana was not very good in this movie, I'm not sure what it was, maybe it was the way how the character was written or that he was just not comfortable in the role. He was extremely miscast as King Henry.

The one to watch in this film is Natalie Portman who seems to have a grand time playing the evil, scheming Anne Boleyn.

I am pleased to see that all the women in this film, like Lady Boleyn, Anne Boleyn, Mary Boleyn and Queen Catherine of Aragon were portrayed as having strong characters and not easily pushed around. Even Mary Boleyn, who seemingly always acquiesce to the wishes of her father and uncle, decided in the end to run off and marry someone who truly loves her.

It's a very entertaining film. Just remember that it's only someone's version of the Tudor history, not the real history, and you won't run into trouble!
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A besotted travesty of history
sarastro725 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I am all for trying to do something different, trying to make some new and intriguing point about this or that... no, wait, I guess I'm not. At any rate, whatever they tried to do with this freakosaurus of a "historical" movie, they completely and unforgivably failed at. I know this bit of history well, and have seen most treatments of it in movies and TV shows; even the irreverent and sensationalist Tudors TV show is a masterstroke of brilliance compared to the pondscum that is The Other Boleyn Girl.

This movie keeps developing into ever-greater extremes of absurdity, piling one thoroughly unbelievable scene upon the other. It takes rumors, it takes subsequent history, it takes impossible dialogue and it even takes *rape* and *incest*, and drops it all on the shoulders of Anne Boleyn. This is not only the worst and the least historical account of these events I have yet seen, but also the most offensive and malicious. It is complete, irredeemable nonsense.

Why and how the classy actors could possibly stand for this, I will honestly never know. They must have cringed so loudly inside that the sound technicians must have deleted the creaking. There is only one word that accurately describes this movie: Ridiculous.

Just one final complaint - an insult, really: How can this compost pile have garnered an IMDb rating of nearly 7? The people who have given this movie a good rating must be ignorant soap opera fans with barely a brain cell and a half to rub together.

1 out of 10.
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Why did they bother with a bit of accuracy at the end?
stancym-124 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
OK, I will admit that since I am descended from Mary Boleyn,I do have a bit of family honor at stake here....

I knew the film was going to take liberties with historical truth, but REALLY. The Other Boleyn Girl is almost PURE FICTION from beginning to end. Why did they bother to tack on SOME accurate historical outcomes (in written sentence form) of the characters at the end, just before the credits rolled?

Just to name a couple of examples: Mary Boleyn was married to William Carey as depicted, and Henry took her as his mistress with Carey's approval as he was richly rewarded. Maybe emotionally conflicted approval, I don't know. I rather doubt it. Anyway, in the film Mary marries a commoner at the end. The film never explains what happened to Carey, it would seem to suggest she is committing bigamy!

In the closing "write-over", we read that Mary lived happily ever after with the lower class guy; in fact, her family coldly rejected her because she brought down their status. She suffered emotionally and financially due to the marriage, but was still glad she finally married for love.

Other things that are totally false: Anne and Mary did not hang out all the time as is suggested in the film; I understand that serves the plot well so maybe I will let that one go. Can't let this one go: Henry raping Anne before she surrendered to him. That is ridiculous. And Anne convincing her brother to have incest with her so as to produce an heir? That is even more ridiculous. She would never have broken the incest taboo; also, if Henry was really shunning her bed by that time, as Anne suggests in the film, then if she turned up pregnant she would be accused of adultery and sent to the Tower!

Speaking of being sent to the Tower, in real life Anne conducted herself with great dignity and restraint before and at her execution, likely she was trying to protect her daughter Elizabeth and better secure her daughter's future relationship with Henry. She was innocent of adultery but kept her mouth shut when she knew her fate was sealed. This is not at all how Anne is portrayed in the film.

Cardinal Wolsey is left out of the movie entirely, and he played a MAJOR role in the whole drama of the divorce from Catherine of Aragon and Henry's desire for Anne Boleyn.

I just don't see why this same type of movie could not have been made with FICTIONAL kings and queens and other characters--no authentic names. Then it would not be a particularly good movie but it would be less aggravating. Of course, it could not then claim to be based on Gregory's book about Mary Boleyn. I don't plan to read that; there are too many accurate books about Henry VIII that are no doubt more interesting, and I can read about poor Mary Boleyn in those.
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The Other Boleyn Girl: A Rulebook for Serious Films
jonathanruano19 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
"The Other Boleyn Girl" is one of those films that is so boring that you start picking out the logical errors with the plot. To begin with, Henry VIII's private life has been the subject of countless films. Unless a movie can provide a fresh take on this familiar subject matter, then there is no point in making it.

Yet aside from this criticism, "The Other Boleyn Girl" also suffers from the fatal flaw of being stupid. The beginning of the film sees Henry VIII (Eric Bana) impregnate Mary Boleyn (Scarlett Johannson) with a son. You would think that Henry VIII would then divorce Catherine of Aragon and marry Mary, thereby legitimizing his son's eventual succession to the throne. Yet for reasons that are not at all clear, Henry VIII acts like the cad who who breaks off all contact with a girl he had just impregnated rather than a monarch who is desperate for a male heir. So even within its own logic, this film breaks down.

If this is not bad enough, we have an even more illogical episode to follow that one. After spending a pleasant holiday in France, Anne Boleyn comes back to England with a mission to seduce the king. But her plan is to treat Henry VIII like dirt and be snobbish and obnoxious to everyone else. Of course, I do not hold any of these things against Anne necessarily because it is nice to see the titled aristocracy getting taken down a couple of pegs. Yet what does not make sense is that Henry VIII would marry her afterwards, especially considering that there is no chemistry between them whatsoever. I also do not understand why Anne Boleyn was devastated when the king lost all interest in her. She did become queen after all and it was not as if she was in love with Henry. With this many illogical scenes, Anne's deep seated anguish comes across as forced rather than sincere. The film makers asked Natalie Portman to cry a river and she cried a river for them.

At the end of watching "The Other Boleyn Girl," I came to the realization that this movie should have been made into a soft-core sex comedy of the 1970s variety. The execution scenes can be cut, extended sex scenes with Scarlett Johannson can be inserted, and the dialogue can be lighter and feature more sly wit and humour. That way, this film will not have to live up to its unrealistic pretensions to greatness and can be a rousing entertainment.
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Satisfying and entertaining, but it promised so much more
blackburnj-18 March 2008
The Tudors are very chic at the moment. If it isn't "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (awful) or the television series, "The Tudors" (soft-pornographic trash), then it is "The Other Boleyn Girl", the latest film written by the Oscar nominated screenwriter, Peter Morgan. After his work on the Golden Globe winning TV film "Longford" and the Oscar winning (for its lead actors) "The Queen" and "The Last King of Scotland", his scripts must be in demand by actors across the globe. Little wonder then that this film attracts a stellar cast, including Eric Bana, Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman. So, why is it that this film, which is filled with great talent and potential, delivers only satisfaction? This was originally slated for release late last year, right in the middle of the awards season. Yet, for some reason, it was moved back. Why this was done is not widely known, but, as the IMDb had the film listed as completed last autumn, I should think that the decision was taken that this film would draw more attention outside of the congested awards season. Watching the film, you are aware of the ambition and lavish costumes that would draw the gaze of Oscar. But the film lacks punch, depth and the power to grip you the whole way through.

That's not to say that it isn't entertaining. Far from it, the film is, for an hour and a quarter, perfectly pleasant, with intrigue, scheming and romance aplenty. A lot of the credit must go to the performances, which range from accomplished to fantastically enjoyable to watch. Natalie Portman is impressive as Anne Boleyn. She ranges from scheming and nasty to genuinely sympathetic. It is her most notable work to date. Scarlett Johansson is fine, but everybody is still waiting for her to realise the potential she showed when she announced herself on the scene in "Lost in Translation" and "The Girl with the Pearl Earring". The supporting cast are a joy to watch. Eric Bana is excellent as Henry VIII, but it is the schemers in the background who provide the best entertainment. David Morrissey is having a lot of fun, whilst Mark Rylance and Kristin Scott Thomas are great as the Boleyn parents.

It is a perfectly bearable watch, but unfulfilling. There's an awful lot crammed into the hour and fifty minutes. As year after year of history is skipped through, the film's focus continually shifts, failing to allow certain characters from gaining appropriate intensity. Henry VIII is not as proactive as he might, or should, be. He is more driven then driving, whilst his first wife, Catherine of Aragon (Ana Torrent), is given very little time on screen, thus sidelining a character which should be a figure of great interest. But your expectations are dashed mainly because the film reaches its climax with half-an-hour to go, with an emotional pinnacle being reached and never again surpassed. A rape scene, which seems to be the start of the culmination, with so many points of interest going on in it, proves to be the end of it. The last thirty minutes, whilst quite stylish, are drawn out and slow, and end with a final scene that can only be described as cheesy.

It's a shame that this film is nothing more than admirable in places. But it is a good film for this time of year (that springtime lull between the quality of Winter and the bombast entertainment of Summer). It is an entertaining and satisfying way to pass an afternoon, but it won't live long in the memory.
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Brilliant acting, intense story, weak script and bad directing.
OrleansB4 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The second half of this movie almost gave me a BLOODY HEART ATTACK! MAN THAT WAS DISTURBING! Ignore the false advertisements that make this movie look like a romantic bodice-ripper. One can call it a soap-opera, but you CANNOT call it a romantic period drama! For those of yous who don't know your Tudor history don't worry, you don't need too (on second thought it'll probably be better if you don't know the story), just treat this as a FICTIONAL eye-opener (and yes, it is extremely historically incorrect) OKay...disturbing themes and historical inaccuracies aside, the movie has brilliant acting by it's leads. Johansson is very capable and believable as Mary (yes, I know...I'm shocked too), whilst Portman is psychotically intense as Anne (I'll explain later). The supporting cast is decent, Kristen Scott Thomas is morally in-tune in the Boleyns' mother and Jim Sturgess is BRILLIANT as their tragic brother George.

The story on the other hand is WAY too rushed (you can SO CLEARLY tell that sonypictures butchered this movie up...BADLY, thus I'll be waiting for a director's cut indefinitely).

OK...first half of this movie is DULLer than the movie's god-awful cinematography, the audiences' disinterest is NOT helped by Peter Morgan's lazy script. The first half drags and drags....UNTIL the director and writer decides to go all HAPPY TREE FRIENDS on the lead characters (and I don't mean in the bloody fun way either).

Whilst Scarlett Johansson's Mary remains the movie's 'somewhat' moral center....Natalie Portman's Anne goes bloody bizerk (yes, in the crazy psychotic bitch sense)...kudos to her for bringing such intensity and whatever realism she can to the (clearly bias) role, although at points you may what to strangle Anne for her conniving ruthlessness, you nevertheless feel for her (and especially her brother) in the end.

Make no mistake, this is NOT a movie for the soft-hearted, as I explained before the second half contains MANY series of disturbing stomach-wrenching events that will leave you clutching your seat (or packet of Orange TicTac in my case) making the first ELIZABETH movie seem like the most feel-good movie of 1999. SO CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED! All in all, bad direction, awesome acting and melodramatically disturbing story with a beautiful score by Paul Cantelon and gorgeous costumes by Sandy Powell. A would overall give it a generous 7 stars out of 10.

I hope I left this review as spoiler free as possible.
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Give Natalie Portman an Oscar
funnygirl271 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Never have I seen an actress take control of a movie as much as Portman did with Boleyn. She stepped into the role so perfectly and did it was so much confidence. I could feel her pain and ambition. I started shaking during her downward spiral and couldn't stop. It was so intense and heart pounding.

Jim Sturgess also made a huge impression. His part was small but his performance was big. I wished there had been more of the brother.

The costumes also should win something, anything. They were amazing and really stood out.

All in all it was a a pretty good movie. It really grabbed you and kept you in their world for two hours. I would recommend this to anyone who's old enough because there is a lot of adult material.

8 out of 10 stars
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Inaccurate historical detail
haleyshopefarm-14 March 2008
This story is not close to being correct. First off, Anne was the younger sister (born in 1510). Mary was the mistress to King Francis of France she returned to England with Mary, Queen of France after the death of the French King Louis She became Henry's lover. She became pregnant and was married off to William Carey. The King NEVER acknowledged her child as his. Anne was STILL in France with Queen Claude. She was never banished to France. She returned to England when Henry changed allegiances from France to Spain. When Anne returned she fell in love with Harry Percy (who was NOT betrothed to anyone) It was a love match. The King saw Anne and became besotted. He had Cardinal Wolsey separate them and then Percy was married off to Mary Talbot. Henry adored Anne. He was never anything but generous to her and she hated him only a little less than she hated The Cardinal Wolsey. She blamed them for separating her from her love, Harry Percy. The King pursued her and she refused him, this went on for 6 years. she finally fell in love with him. They married (after he split from Rome) and were happy. Elizabeth was born, and Henry changed the Act of Succession to make Elizabeth his heir. It wasn't until the second death of a stillborn son that Henry had had enough. The saucy temperament and sharp tongue he loved in the beginning began to wear on him in the end. One of the greatest historical quotes is from Anne in the Tower "when I no longer hated him, he began to hate me"

This is a great story if told correctly. This movie was awful. Anne was not guilty of adultery and the scene with her brother never happened.In fact it was the situation with Mark Smeaton a court musician that caused Anne's downfall. She was accused with him (he was tortured to admit guilt) and with all of Henry's friends from the time he had first met Anne, her brother was thrown in to make sure there was no sympathy for the Queen. Interestingly, even though most of the people hated Anne for what had happened to Katherine, Henry's actions made the people sympathetic to Anne as they did not believe her guilty of what she was accused. Jane Seymour was no longer a secret. I am amazed that such an inaccurate movie would be made and the worst part of this is that in a time when women had little to no power, a young girl changed the face of the world.

By refusing the greatest man in the land..The King. Her end was tragic and not her fault. It was the doing a spoiled and old man who was always looking for the greener grass. The movie was shot horribly and the costumes were seen too often. Katherine of Aragon was not an ugly woman but one worn down by lost children and a philandering husband.

The best movie on this subject was Anne of The Thousand Days. The Tudors on Showtime is good but also rife with historical inaccuracies. Mary was not the saint she was made out to be but a whore who gave everyone everything and asked for nothing. She did live a quite life after the death of her sister.

And her children were honored by Elizabeth I
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The adventures of Anne Boleyn's smarter sister.......
ianlouisiana24 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Mary was of course Anne's older sister,not younger,and she and her siblings were pimped by their social climbing father the appalling Thomas Boleyn(even the name "Boleyn" was an affectation borrowed from the French Court,their real names was "Bullen").The overall feeling is that if Henry had a taste for bestiality Boleyn would have pimped one of his wolfhounds. "The Other Boleyn Girl" is trash,basically.Only Miss S.Johansson escapes unscathed as "The King's Great Matter" is presented as a bodice - ripper that almost plays like a badly - written satire about the Tudor Court. Eric Bana is lousy as Henry the Eighth,portraying England's last all - powerful king as a spoiled 14 year old.Here was a sophisticated,learned man seen as a bearded Zac Effron. There were no feminists in Tudor England,whatever thoughts Lady Boleyn,who had allegedly been Henry's mistress as a young woman, might have had about the King's conduct about her children she kept to herself in order to survive. Mary Boleyn bore the King's Bastard and kept her head when many about her were losing theirs - a not inconsiderable achievement. That may be a subject worthy of a movie,but one would hope that it might be rather better than this load of tosh.
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Absolutely Dire and almost painful to watch
DancefloorTerrorist6 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The Other Boleyn Girl **SPOILER** Throughout the film there were a few sniggers at some of the incredibly bad scripting (Obviously geared towards the American market- as there were regular bits were the evil Uncle would describe exactly what was going on or would happen in the future and the historical inaccuracies were pretty major). Some of it was cringeworthy in just how bad it was (especially the final scene with the slow fade to black- a picture of a red headed girl and a subtitle explaining how 'Elizabeth would go on to rule England for 40 years ' (or whatever- I didn't read it properly as I was in such a rush to leave).

I suppose the actors did what they could with a terrible script and worse directing (scarlett Johansen wasn't as bad as reviews had led me to believe and Natalie Portman was perhaps quite good, though to be honest no-one came out of it well. Eric Bana didn't really have a lot to work with either- pity because I had a high regard for him after the castle and the nugget). The cinematography was also terrible with the majority of the scenes being very poorly focused- It wasn't soft focus or pull focus, it was just rubbish and very poorly done. In fact it was on a par with the script as one of the worst things about the movie.

Some of the comments I heard when exiting the theatre mirrored my thoughts but used a few more expletives...

Unfortunately I would neither recommend it to a friend or my most feared enemy.

I am sorry to say that the only thing I can say in it's defence was that 'the costumes were quite well done' but even they were not exceptional...

I was happy when it was over (but would have been happier if I'd seen the scriptwriter and the director get executed rather than the boleyn family).

Did I mention how rubbish the cinematography and the script were?

Can I mention it again?
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Not a good historical film, but a considerable drama with indefensible historical laxity.
CihanVercan11 September 2008
Don't trust either good or bad critics upon "The Other Boleyn Girl". It's a serious thing to castigate such a bold work. First of all, this movie is a mediocre adaptation of a heart-breaking novel of late epochs of the English kingdom and the royal family. This work of art(both novel and the movie) has a courage to reveal the unknown reasons of English kingdom becoming less potent with the Renaissance revolution from Italy, and losing the support of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church, accordingly becoming adversaries with Italy.

The Renaissance revolution is strongly flowing all over the movie just effectively with the Love. Yes, Renaissance invented the Love; but not lonely. There supposed to be growing artists, poets, sculptors, etc. Where are they? Even, we see the palace of the kingdom, the courtroom, the royal family's bedrooms all like a dungeon. Love wouldn't be existed, unless there is Art. Regrettably neither director nor the screenwriter is aware of the Renaissance flow of the actual novel. Hence the spirit of the movie is lost; and they still try to make us believe that the king of England is cruel and he has set apart the lovers. On the contrary, in fact English kingdom always had let literature, theater and love grow.

Beside this failure, this fiasco of the plot; the cinematography and the costume design are stunning. The music score is outstanding, yet we feel that the whole movie is in a mournful silence.

After all, we have a touching story with a great deal of melodrama in a sensational way. It seems like it took much effort to get together this powerful cast of actors and their cordial acting. Give it a try; at least it's worth seeing.
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Not a history lesson, it's a movie, a good one at that
Smells_Like_Cheese29 February 2008
When I first saw the trailer for The Other Boleyn Girl, I have to admit, it looked good, but like it wasn't accurate. I am a huge history buff, especially in the time of England's dark ages, I am fairly familiar with the Boleyn sisters and their affections for King Henry, Anne being the second wife to be executed for committing adultery and not birthing a son heir to the thrown, her life was absolutely horrific if you think about how hard it was to be a woman in this era. I was a little scared that they wouldn't portray her well in this film, but my mom and I saw The Other Boleyn Girl today and even though I'm not fully satisfied with the portrayal of Anne, the movie is still very good. The story has a Hollywood layer to give the story a little more "oomph" sort of speak, like most other pictures, but The Other Boleyn Girl is still a very decent movie.

The Boleyn has quite a family, a mother, father, a son, and two daughters. After failing at several attempts for Queen Catherine to have a son heir to King Henry's thrown, he wishes for a mistress. Sir Thomas Boleyn offers his daughter, Anne, but when King Henry sees Thomas's other daughter, Mary, he is smitten with her and wants her as his mistress. She gives birth to a son, but they are not married and she is looked down upon. Anne is given a second chance to come back after a marriage that was not granted and then annulled, but King Henry then falls for her and wishes her to give herself to him, but she puts up a fight and tells him not until she assumes the crown and to be his wife. But she fails to give him a son, her life depends on it as well sadly.

The true story of Anne Boleyn is very sad, but extremely interesting, I wouldn't recommend the book, just go for a regular history book when it comes to this story. But for the movie, The Other Boleyn Girl, I liked it, it had good acting, beautiful costumes and sets, and a very good story. If you are looking for a history lesson, this is not the film for you, but if you are looking for a good movie, then watch it. Just like the film "Elizabeth", they make the story a little more juicy, it's for the sake of some audience members who don't understand why England has the system it does, but it still makes for good drama.

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Major disappointment (Spoiler possible)
goldenswim6 October 2008
What a disappointment. I had been looking forward to seeing this and it was a bust! I've read the book and know a lot about the history of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII and this was just awful. The rape scene was the worst! When baby Henry was born and he did not go to see him was the second worst! I just wish they could have been more accurate with the facts of history but maybe this is just too big a topic/story for a short movie. Much better as a miniseries. I also think it just all felt rushed. It would have been nice to see some more pleasant interaction between Anne and the king. King Henry had a smoldering quality, but the chemistry was lacking with Anne. He really seemed to have more affection for Mary - why was a mystery. Just did not like the movie at all.
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A poor, inaccurate effort
mitcs1107 September 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Depressingly inaccurate and misrepresented. The book 'The Other Boleyn Girl' had a few inaccuracies of it's own, but made a good effort to truly flesh out character's lives and personalities. The movie had more historically inaccurate facts than it did true, and didn't seem to follow the book at all. Leaving out baby Catherine, showing William Stafford as a smiling fool, screwing up Henry Percy's story completely, and forgetting to mention Catherine entirely after her trial was over was a poor effort.

One of the things that annoyed me most was when Henry raped Anne. There is no historical evidence whatsoever to show that he would have done this, and every suggestion to the contrary. He either loved her with a passion or ignored her entirely. With Henry, there was rarely any middle ground. The other incredibly annoying scene was at George's execution where the crowd shouted and jeered as he had to be dragged to the block. In actual reality, he stood calmly before the crowd, and announced his innocence and respect for the queen. The producer's effort in 'spicing things up' by making things appear worse then they actually were was degrading to the fine lives of these characters, most of who died with dignity.
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What A Piece Of Drama!
kiquescarlett25 February 2008
I think that the main critics done to this film came from those who don't like Natalie or Scarlett. I hope it has nothing to do with the the fact that it is a costum movie - I personally found this film an excellent piece of drama, as well as the book was (I think it's an awesome reading, too!). A perfect cast, a good storyline and a strong screenplay are the main reasons that made "The Other Boleyn Girl" a wonderful screen adaptation - and both Portman and Johansson revealed themselves in one of their best performance ever! I also believe that the choice of casting two of the most brilliant and famous young actresses in Hollywood (perhaps the best ones, right now) was a smart move from the movie producers and - as well as the most fascinating thing about it is the rivalry between the two sisters - let it able to do captivate young people's attention. I really hope this film is going to be a good hit - at least to receive good reviews from the critis...
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Beautifully acted, solid direction, and a great script....a nearly perfect film!
shaunricefan11 February 2008
I didn't know much going in, aside from the exceptional cast, featuring Eric Bana, Natalie Portman, and Scarlett Johanson. But watching it left me breathless. The story was thoroughly engrossing and kept a great pace, leading to a fantastic conclusion. The actors really get to shine in this character driven story. And stylistically, the film is pitch perfect. I think that just about everyone will find something enjoyable in this film. It's a great date movie, and very thought-provoking at the same time.

I give it 4 stars and a 10 out of 10!



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The Writers Need to go back to British History Class
guylover_caroline17 June 2008
The Other Boleyn Girl probably marks the debut of an adaptation of the most intriguing tale of English Royal history. However, very poorly does the film actually describe the events. I must say that probably the only accurate part of this movie is the inevitable ending--which I won't give away because there may be a few who don't actually know what happens.

I am quite the Anne Boleyn fanatic. She is one of my favorite historical figures due to her intelligence, wit and ambition. But this film completely let me down. Obviously Ms. Gregory and the people working on the film are partial to Mary Boleyn, for they idolize her throughout and scorn Anne. What for? Mary Boleyn was a naive and vain young woman who only wished for the king's attention for as long as any ordinary mistress could have it. She was unintelligent. Anne, however, used strategy to get what she wanted. She did not wish for love (perhaps not a noble thing, but at least she was honest about it); she wished for power. And she got it. Because of her refusals, she became Queen of England. It was only her growing ego and ambition that destroyed her--quite the theme; however the writers ignored it and decided to go with the cliché "love conquers all." Of course that is a noble truth, but Anne's downfall is much more interesting. I recommend reading her biography and the (somewhat fictional) diary by Carolyn Meyer.

The one thing I despised about this movie was how terribly inaccurate it was. Not only was it shown that one sister was favored over another by the writers, but also the historical portion was completely wrong. For one, Anne Boleyn was not the elder, more social and beautiful of the two. On the contrary, Mary was older by two or three years, and she was welcomed in by society because of her beauty and popularity. Anne was younger, darker, and she had two imperfections: A mole on her neck (believed to be Devil markings) and a sixth finger on her right hand. When she went to France she learned how to cover these imperfections and make herself seem flawless. Her wit was always present. And although I adore Eric Bana, he was a poor choice to play Henry VIII, one of the most morbidly obese men in all of history.

Also, it is quite evident throughout that Anne was vying for Henry's affections all along; however, Mary was the one who wanted to be his mistress. Anne was busy with a poet and musician in court until Henry began to take interest in her.

Perhaps because I am partial to Anne I found this movie so horrible. But I understand that she was a flawed human being who fell because of her ego. Still, the movie represented almost all of the characters horribly exaggerated. Anne was too bad, Mary was too good, Henry was too brutal, etc. I believe the only accurate characters in the film were the girls' mother, father, and uncle. their parts were true to history and made for an interesting relationship to follow.

I suppose I don't see the necessity of changing fact to fiction. The true story is already interesting enough. Even if the writers etc. have differing opinions there are many ways to illustrate a character as good or evil without altering history. People need to learn that history itself is a story that needs to be told ACCURATELY. It makes more sense, it's more believable, and it's much more entertaining for people like me who obsess over such inconsistencies.

Historical Accuracy aside, the movie was way too melodramatic for my tastes. there were no redeeming qualities other than the fact that Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johanssen really understood their characters. Kudos for playing not just an historical figure, but also for playing another person's opinion of an historical figure. It is not always easy. the action was very repetitive, and most of it not very good. I'm sorry, but I'd have to say no on this one. Even if you don't care about historical authenticity, the movie itself isn't great.

If you do care about the facts?? Run away. Fast.
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Outstanding New Historiacal film ..Go see
olddiscs1 March 2008
I was truly impressed today by the film, "The Other Boleyn Girl" for me its getting the new film year off to a very good start!! Weve known about Ann Boleyn and her beheading but this film gives new insight into reasons why ,and the amazing relationship between Ann and her sister Mary.. The plot line never gets dull and moves at a great pace..(usually historical films can be stodgy and boring) This one never lets up..The performances are wonderful , especially,Natalie Portman as Ann and Scarlett Johnansen as Mary... the entire supporting cast is outstanding..The sets and costumes are very authentic.,and the cinematography is beautiful Im not sure how historically accurate this film is ,but as a movie its well worth seeing Don't miss "The Other Boleyn Girl"
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what rubbish
hlrice18 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
After reading the book I could not wait for the DVD, but what a let down. Had they read the book before making the film or checked the history, I guess not. The story seems to be about Anne Boleyn not Mary. Mary's first born was a girl called Catherine and her second child was a boy called Harry both thought to be King Henry's, even though her first husband was mentioned nothing was mentioned about the death of her first husband William Carey, years later she married her second husband Lord Stafford. When Elizabeth was born she was raised in Hatfield along with Mary her half sister, Mary Boleyn did not take Elizabeth as betrayed at the end of the film but Anne did try adopt Mary Boleyn's son Harry.
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