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May I compare thee to a much better movie?

Even though screenwriter Peter Morgan (The Queen) wrote the adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl, the movie doesn’t even match the class or style of his previous work.

King Henry VIII (Eric Bana) can’t seem to produce a male heir. Blaming it on his queen, he travels outside his marriage to find a woman to bear a son. The father of Anne Boleyn (Natalie Portman) yearns to get his daughter involved with royal blood and sets her up with the king. However, the king seems to take more of a liking to Mary (Scarlett Johansson), Anne’s sister.

Tweedledee and Tweedledum.

Then, the picky king can’t seem to make up his mind which sibling he desires. When he does, Anne takes him on a rollercoaster ride as she demands that she be queen, that he disband from the Catholic Church and start his own, and that her sister must live in the country. What’s next, Henry ends up being Mary’s baby daddy? Well, actually…

Even though the melodrama in this film makes Douglas Sirk movies look minimalist by comparison, the over-the-top nature of the film isn’t just in the story. A rousing orchestra makes an appearance in just about every scene: Mary having sex with the king, Anne being pouty and jealous, Henry walking down a hallway (dun-dun-dun). The plot reeks of drama already, so why try to heighten it anymore? How about Henry taking a squat and the trumpets blare in the background?

And if I’m going to watch melodrama, it better go all the way. There is one particular scene toward the end that hints at something somewhat disturbing, and it left me thinking, “You know what would be totally ridiculous? If she suggested…” Soon enough, she does, and momentarily, I was willing to play along, to see if the movie had the cajones to actually go through with the scene. Naturally, the movie wussed out and took a safer route.

Even though Morgan is an accomplished screenwriter, he doesn’t appear to understand the meaning of “zigzag,” the back-and-forth pull of conflict in a story. He reads “hills and valleys,” instead, as “exciting moments” and “boring moments.” Because of his misconception, it’s almost impossible to become engaged with the characters at the beginning of the movie. So when people screw them over or they screw over people, we couldn’t care less.

The Other Boleyn Girl is the kind of average dreck that should be both beheaded and, for good measure, burned at the stake.

Rating: 5/10



  1. Oh nice review…Anyway I like the story of this film, I think there is a sibling rivalry in this movie…But I’m looking forward to the twist and turn in the life of the main character i this film…

  2. Thanks! The story is interesting indeed. It’s just a shame the director thought he had to make it even MORE interesting by making it a melodrama.

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