Film | The Other Boleyn Girl – Review

The Other Boleyn Girl film review
The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)

Plot – Two sisters contend for the affection of King Henry VIII- The Other Boleyn Girl.

Director – Justin Chadwick

Starring – Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Eric Bana, Mark Rylance

Genre – Historical | Romance | Drama

Released – 2008

The Other Boleyn Girl surpasses my expectations in many. Namely, the look and feel of the film is top-notch and benefits from a dark & mysterious sensibility throughout. Most of the film taking place inside the richly decorated grand halls, bedrooms and corridors of grand old buildings and only two instances where scenes take place in the midday’s glare, once at the start and once at the end of the movie. Helping to give the goings-on an almost claustrophobic undertone. And a feeling of always being watched.

Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, and Mark Rylance in The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)

Not quite as flamboyant and colourful as those seen in Shakespeare in Love. The costumes on display here are just as fabulous and add to the sense of authenticity that the makers were clearly going for. The same goes for the acting, which although subdued, remained strong throughout.

Especially that of Johansson in a unique role from what I’ve seen her in before, as the determined yet unlucky Mary Boleyn. Portman too is a particular delight with her portrayal of Anne. Going through a rather dramatic rise and ultimate fall in her pursuit of power. I must also mention Bana’s turn at playing King Henry, who was just the right level of engaging and menacing required in the film. Easily capturing both the character’s poetic and manic sides.

Natalie Portman in The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)

The film is also aided by an excellent supporting cast, with some of the best of British talent on display, including the likes of Cumberbatch, Redmayne and Temple each popping up in small yet important roles in the Boleyn sisters’ lives. Now, this isn’t to mean the film doesn’t have shortcomings, namely the script, which suffers the use of modern language and thoughts that at the time would have felt unrealistic.

There are also several loose ends that the film doesn’t take the time to tie up, including the fates of many of the major characters. Leaving you slightly frustrated with all the effort the makers had put in to making you care about these characters in the first place.

All in all, The Other Boleyn Girl isn’t the most truthful or definitive portrayal of these characters you’re ever likely to see, but does provide you with a glimpse of the games played at the Tudor court by families looking to advance their fortunes and grow their power.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

If you liked – Mary: Queen of Scotts, Little Women, Outlaw King


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