Monday, May 18, 2009
The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)
Based on the novel of the same name by Philippa Gregory, this is a cross historical-fiction story which tells of the shaken grounds of the Catholic Church and the love triangle between two sisters for the ruler of the kingdom.
This movie has received multiple praises and criticisms alike; drawing upon the main cast who were all non-British to play such prominent historical British figures.
I personally find the casting excellent; with Natalie Portman playing the scheming Boleyn sister while Scarlett Johansson is the fairer one.
However, it was the fairer sister who first won the heart of King Henry VIII; despite the family's efforts to promote Anne (Natalie) to the King following the Queen (Catherine of Aragon)'s failure in producing a male heir to the throne.
Duke of Norfolk, together with his brother, Thomas Boleyn then see this as an opportunity to strengthen their influence in the court and decided to use her daughter; Anne to seduce the King and to be the King's mistress and thereby bearing him a son to gain his Majesty's favour in their family.
Thomas's wife, and the Duke's sister were disgusted and refused to take part in the scheme.
The beginning of the movie showed how close both Anne and Mary were (Natalie and Scarlett respectively) and how excited Mary is in getting married to her husband, William Carey.
As William is soon sent away on an assignment and the King visiting, the Boleyns were thrilled to welcome his royal Majesty and to kick their plan into action.
Much to their excitement, the King expressed interest in the married Mary instead of Anne and he took her into his palace where she became the King's mistress, much to the father's delight and Anne's fury.
Anne was then treated as an outcast and in one of her rebellious acts, she decided to elope with Henry Percy, who was supposed to be betrothed to be married to someone else. Confiding in her brother George about it was a mistake as George informed Mary and the marriage was annulled while Anne, was sent to France in exile for the disgrace she brought unto the family.
Anne was really angry with Mary and consider her act as that of a betrayal and vows revenge unto her sister.
Anne was called to return to the court by her father who needed her to keep the King's attention on Mary who was bed-ridden due to a near miscarriage and to ward the King's attention off another rival in Jane Seymour.
Anne seized the opportunity to seduce the King and Mary was sent home after giving birth to her son.
Anne then pressed the King to marry her; and this caused conflict between the King with the Catholic Church when the church refused to annul his marriage to Queen Catherine on the grounds that the Queen has not done anything wrong.
The trial then took to a higher level when the secret marriage of Anne and Henry Percy was brought up and Mary came back to testify; telling a lie to the court that the marriage was never consummated.
The King was furious with the Church and declared himself as the Supreme Governor of the Church of England which signified a crack in the Catholic Church when they split into two churches.
Anne had succeeded in her schemes but at the same time, the King was furious with her for causing so much harm to the kingdom and himself, and at the edge of his breaking point, he rapes her.
The King was disappointed when Anne gave birth to a daughter; and when Anne suffers a miscarriage during her second pregnancy which was actually a boy, she turns to George in desperation to impregnate her.
Of course,they didn't do it as George and Mary took turns to calm Anne down but their conversation was overheard by Jane, George's neglected wife who testified against them in court and this led to the execution of George and Anne who were both found guilty of incest.
Mary, now married to William Stafford, a soldier, runs back to the court to plead mercy for her sister after the beheading of her brother George.
King Henry VIII was happy and yet sad to see her and told her that he would not do anything to harm her.
However, when Mary receives a letter from the King and hearing Anne makes her last statement, she watched in horror as her sister is beheaded.
It was a tragic end for the Boleyns; and Elizabeth Boleyn; mother of Mary,Anne and George denounced both her brother and husband for what they had done to her children.
It was a truly great epic and I found myself enjoying the thrilling drama of how the dangerous schemes of a family to gain position in the court turned out to be such a tragedy.
Natalie Portman played the cunning Anne to perfection and Scarlett was great as the fairer and softer Mary Boleyn.
The male heir that King Henry VII so much wanted was never there, but there was the birth of one brave and beautiful daughter by the name of Elizabeth who was much more than he could ever ask for; as indicated at the end of the movie.
Thumbs-up for this movie, and part of its historical trail also led to the huge success and popularity of the movie in the box office.
It is really interesting to see how a kingdom is torn apart by a woman.
Sadly, it was also the historical turning point of how the Catholic Church was defied and how we ended up in so many different churches today.
A brilliant film and I definitely recommend it; a movie that I'd definitely want to watch more than once!