>The Other Boleyn Girl


It’s always easier to enjoy a film when one hears and reads only bad things about it. Especially when you see this film in order to fulfill part of a sunday afternoon, in the company of lots of popcorn and soda pop. In short, I didn’t really expect much from The Other Boleyn Girl, but I liked it, and even left the theater willing to find out more about Anne Boleyn’s life, the queen whose failed marriage costed her own life. At least, that’s all I knew about her before seeing the film, as the film itself doesn’t really add a lot more within the story. The first time I heard of Anne Boleyn was while seeing that 1930s comedy starred by Charles Laughton as the obese king Henry VIII. The character appears for a short moment, somehow melancholic, but bold enough to accept her fate. In this recent film, it’s a little different. Anne is nothing but tears in an overdramatic performance by Natalie Portman, who disappointed me again for the second time in a historical film (the first one was Goya’s Ghosts). Somehow it’s not only entirely her fault, as the film tends to climax through blood and tears, like many epic movies do, although here the result won’t be as memorable as for example, in The Last of the Mohicans or even Gladiator (weird comparissons, huh?).

Epics can be a great format to describe historical lives, such as Elizabeth’s (Anne’s only daughter, btw) in that late 1990s film starred by Cate Blanchett in a flawless performance, which deserved the Oscar over Gwyneth’s (but that’s another subject), in The Other Boleyn Girl however, it would have been better a more intimate story centered in Anne’s personality, through the point of view of those who really knew her and loved her. I haven’t read the book that inspired the film, but I heard it follows this direction (correct me, those of you who have read the book, if I’m wrong). Of course that Anne is the only real character we get a chance to know more about, as the other characters who share the movie poster with Natalie are one-sided. Eric Bana portrays Henry, evil as a king and an asshole as a man, so common place that not even a final meeting with Anne’s sister and a letter are capable of showing neither complexity nor understanding for his character. Scarlett Johansson as Mary Boleyn is portrayed as a submissive woman of her time, whose behaviour is as predictable as Henry’s next infatuations.

Therefore the hardest performance to deliver is the one by Natalie as Anne, who finds the right tone in the beggining, as an apparently innocent young woman whose temper and intelligence intimidate men, and later as a more “adequate” woman, “a woman that allows men to believe that they, indeed, are in charge”, in her mother’s own words. That said, Anne uses her intelligence summed to these new “qualities” to manipulate the king and pursue her ambition of becoming a queen. Until here Natalie’s performance is satisfactory, but from the moment Anne’s life begins to fade, so does Natalie’s acting. It’s hard to believe that such a strong and wit woman would “suddenly” turn out so unsure of herself, as Anne does towards the ending. Despite some flaws, like its messy editing, The Other Boleyn Girl made me care for the two sisters’ destiny, and was at least entertaining enough for a sunday afternoon.

15 Comments to “>The Other Boleyn Girl”

  1. >im glad you liked it, its not like the best film ever but its sure entertaining and i loved to see natalie and scarlett together, though i agree with you, natalie was not at her best, she had the most interesting character and said nothing to me, while scarlett had the most boring and i think she did better, even though i always believed that natalie was a better actress…anyway, i havent read the book but it's historical fiction, the character of mary was totally made up, she was known in reality as 'a great whore' who bedded king francis of france as a revenge to henry. if you like the story you should watch 'the tudors', its what really happened but anyway, i enjoyed a lot the story of these 2 sisters 🙂

  2. >Romeika, mesmo com as críticas ruins, eu quero muito assistir "A Outra". Eu acho que você foi muito certa ao dizer que é mais fácil a gente apreciar um filme depois de ler tanta coisa ruim sobre ele. Sem ter expectativas altas, é mais normal sairmos do filme achando que ele nem foi tão ruim assim. Mesmo com suas ressalvas à atuação da Natalie Portman, ela foi uma das poucas que conseguiu ser isenta das críticas ruins.

  3. >read the book and to be honest the movie is fairly close to it in character protrayl of anne. she is completely unlikable in the book, just as much as the film, sorry, so im actually a fan of nat's acting job in the film, probably the best part b/c george and mary's roles were so whitewashed

  4. >I haven't seen the film. I read the book (it was decent, more about romance than real history…). I just somehow felt Natalie couldn't be Anne, she doesn't show the ruthless quality necessary. I felt that Scarlett would have been a better Anne despite the physical differences.

  5. >You're coments about the film, even if not entirely positive, left me more confortable about watching it. I'll definetly watch as soon as it comes out on dvd. And I love the ensemble.Ciao!

  6. >that's an interesting statement:It's always easier to enjoy a film when one hears and reads only bad things about it.it's kinda funny. you didn't seem to be the type to write prison letters to murderers. or to go to football games to watch the rowdies bash each other. i bet you like political debates.and dating bad boys (when you were single, of course).so conversely, if you hear good things about someone, or about a film, it follows you have only limited interest in seeing them.(I'm only teasing, romeika. don't take me seriously. you know i love your blog)

  7. >Miss_Scarlett: I wouldn't say Natalie said nothing to me, but she was disappointing in some moments. Scarlett had a not so interesting character, and I agree with you, she played it good, she was simple, but true. I've read some info about Anne Boleyn on wikipedia, and the novel/film must be indeed fiction based on real facts. I do wanna know about the real story, so thanks for the recommendation!:-)Kamila, exatamente, eh quase sempre assim! Tanto que as vezes subestimo um filme que ate eh bom, apenas pq esperava maravilhas, ao passo que hiperestimo um outro que nem eh essas coisas todas, pq achava que seria terrivel.. Mas depois de um tempinho, vejo de novo os mesmos filmes com outros olhos e ja mudo de opiniao. A Natalie esta regular, nao foi uma atuacao ruim, apenas nao consegui acreditar nela ao fim.Jayne, it seems like the book is very like the film, then. No need to apologise, it's ok to disagree ^.^The clothes: I believe in Natalie's potential, but somehow she wasn't completely successful in this performance =/ I blame the script and directing, it's not entirely her fault.Wally, I was very interested of seeing it due to the cast.Seraphine hehe, I knew you were kidding! I'm much more interested of seeing a film when everyone is talking wonderful things about it. Sometimes I give up of going to the movies when a picture receive many bad reviews, as the movie ticket here is quite expensive. However, I always give a chance to films with my fav actors or from my fav directors;-)

  8. >I've yet to see this but the costumes look amazing.

  9. >I enjoyed the movie, but I love the show the tudors more!

  10. >Esse filme tem uma bela embalagem, mas o conteúdo é mais que decepcionante. Vale pela beleza das protagonistas, mas de resto me arrependi profundamente em ter visto.

  11. >Vinicius, eu lembro de ter lido sua critica na epoca, vc realmente odiou o filme! hehe

  12. >I actually enjoyed both the book and the movie. I think both actresses did well in their respective parts.

  13. >have also read the book and watched the movie, and 'the other boleyn girl' is actually referring to mary,and not anne,thus the story does not revolve around anne,though she is the more intriguing character of the two.i like nat's portrayal of anne,she was as devious as in the book,and yet made me pity her when she was dying,sth the book did not achieve.anw the soundtrack was nice too.ha.

  14. >♥ You are invited to my Tiffany party, so, come & take a Tiffany cupcake @ Glammy !! ♥

  15. >love this film ! i like so much scarlett

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