The Other Boleyn Girl (2008 film)
|The Other Boleyn Girl|
Promotional film poster
|Directed by||Justin Chadwick|
|Produced by||Alison Owen|
|Written by||Peter Morgan
Philippa Gregory (novel)
Kristin Scott Thomas
|Music by||Paul Cantelon|
|Editing by||Paul Knight
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures
|Running time||115 minutes|
The Other Boleyn Girl is a 2008 drama film directed by Justin Chadwick. The screenplay by Peter Morgan was adapted from the 2001 novel of the same name by Philippa Gregory. It is a romanticized account of the lives of 16th-century aristocrats Mary Boleyn, one-time mistress of King Henry VIII, and her sister, Queen Anne, who became the monarch's ill-fated second wife, though much history is distorted.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (January 2012)|
When Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon does not produce a male heir to the throne, Thomas Howard, the Duke of Norfolk and his brother in law Thomas Boleyn plan to install Thomas's daughter Anne Boleyn. They hope Anne will become the King's mistress and mother of his son, to the disgust of her mother, Lady Elizabeth Boleyn, Countess of Wiltshire and Ormond (Thomas Howard's sister). Anne eventually agrees to please her father and uncle. Anne's younger sister, Mary, marries William Carey, even though his family had asked for Anne's hand.
While visiting the Boleyn estate, Henry is injured in a hunting accident, indirectly caused by Anne, and is nursed by Mary. While in her care, Henry becomes smitten with her and he invites her to court. With great reluctance, Mary and her husband agree, aware of what will be expected of her. Mary and Anne become ladies-in-waiting to Queen Catherine and Henry sends William away on an assignment. Separated from her husband, Mary finds herself falling in love with Henry.
Rebellious Anne secretly marries the nobleman Henry Percy. Anne confides in her brother George, who is overjoyed and tells Mary. Fearing Anne will ruin her reputation by marrying without the king's consent, Mary alerts her father and uncle. They confront Anne, the marriage is annulled and she is exiled to France.
Mary becomes pregnant. Her family receives a number of new grants and estates, their debts are paid and Henry arranges for George to marry Jane Parker. When Mary nearly suffers a miscarriage, she is confined to bed until her child is born. Norfolk recalls Anne to England to keep Henry's attention from wandering to another rival. In her belief that Mary exiled her to increase her own status, Anne successfully campaigns to win Henry over. Henry then has Mary sent to the country at Anne's request and shortly after her return, Mary is widowed.
Anne encourages Henry to break from the Roman Catholic Church when the Pope refuses to annul his marriage to Queen Catherine. Henry succumbs to Anne's demands, declares himself Supreme Head of the Church of England, and gets Thomas Wolsey to annul his marriage to Catherine.
Anne's schemes drive Henry to breaking point and in a fit of rage, he rapes her. A pregnant Anne marries Henry to please her family and become the new Queen. Mary and Anne are reconciled.
Despite the birth of a healthy daughter, Elizabeth, Henry angrily blames Anne for his failure to create a son. He begins courting Jane Seymour in secret. After Anne suffers the miscarriage of a son, Anne begs George to commit incest with her to replace the child she lost, because if anyone found out about the miscarriage, she would be burned as a witch. George agrees, knowing that it is Anne's only hope. They do not go through with it. However, George's neglected wife Jane witnesses enough of their encounter to become suspicious. She reports what she has seen and both Anne and George are arrested. The two are found guilty and sentenced to death for treason, adultery and incest. George is executed. Distraught by the news, Elizabeth Boleyn disowns her husband and brother, vowing never to forgive them for what their greed did to her children.
Mary returns to court to plead for her siblings' lives. Believing that Henry will spare her sister, she leaves to see Anne right before the scheduled execution. Anne asks Mary to take care of Elizabeth if anything should happen to her. Mary watches from the crowd as Anne makes her final speech, waiting for the execution to be cancelled as Henry promised. A letter from Henry is given to Mary, which reveals he has decided not to stop the execution and save Anne, and she is beheaded. The closing captions summarize the subsequent history of the Boleyns.
- Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn. Portman was attracted to the role because it was a character that she "hadn’t played before", and describes Anne as "strong yet she can be vulnerable and she’s ambitious and calculating and will step on people but also feels remorse for it." One month before filming began, Portman started taking daily classes to master the English accent under dialect coach Jill McCulloch, who also stayed on set throughout the filming.
- Scarlett Johansson as Mary Boleyn. Johansson expressed concern over the film being "such a melodramatic tale." In response to critics being skeptical about the film featuring American actresses as major British characters, Johansson said "The three foreign actors will be using English accents ... I'll take away the eyebrows and the make-up and you won't notice I'm American."
- Eric Bana as Henry VIII of England. Bana commented that he was surprised upon being offered the role, and describes the character of Henry as "a man who was somewhat juvenile, and driven by passion and greed", and that he interpreted the character as "this man who was involved in an incredibly intricate, complicated situation, largely through his own doing". In preparation for the role, Bana relied mostly on the script to come up with his own version of the character, and "deliberately stayed away" from other portrayals of Henry in films because he found it "too confusing and restricting".
- Jim Sturgess as George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford. Though the three siblings are all very tight-knit, George and Anne are closest. George supports and loves Anne for her rebellious and unconventional attitude. He is forced to marry Jane Parker. George is often viewed as the most vulnerable and probably the kindest of the siblings.
- Kristin Scott Thomas as Elizabeth Boleyn, Countess of Wiltshire and Ormond
- Mark Rylance as Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire
- David Morrissey as Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk
- Benedict Cumberbatch as William Carey
- Oliver Coleman as Henry Percy, 6th Earl of Northumberland
- Ana Torrent as Catherine of Aragon
- Eddie Redmayne as William Stafford
- Juno Temple as Jane Parker
- Iain Mitchell as Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex
- Andrew Garfield as Francis Weston
- Corinne Galloway as Jane Seymour
- Constance Stride as young Mary Tudor
- Maisie Smith as young Elizabeth
Much of the filming took place in Kent, England, though Hever Castle was not used, despite being the original household of Thomas Boleyn and family from 1505–1539. The Baron's Hall at Penshurst Place featured, as did Dover Castle, which stood in for the Tower of London in the film, and Knole House in Sevenoaks was used in several scenes. The home of the Boleyns was represented by Great Chalfield Manor in Wiltshire, and other scenes were filmed at locations in Derbyshire, including Cave Dale, Haddon Hall, Dovedale and North Lees Hall near Hathersage.
The film was first released in theaters on February 29, 2008, though its world premiere was held at the 58th Berlin International Film Festival held on February 7–17, 2008. The film earned $9,442,224 in the United Kingdom, and $26,814,957 in the United States and Canada. The combined worldwide gross of the film was $75,598,644, more than double the film's $35 million budget.
Home media 
The film was released in Blu-ray and DVD formats on June 10, 2008. Extras on both editions include an audio commentary with director Justin Chadwick, deleted and extended scenes, character profiles, and featurettes. The Blu-ray version includes BD-Live capability and an additional picture-in-picture track with character descriptions, notes on the original story, and passages from the original book.
Critical reception 
The film received mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 41% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 133 reviews. One such review said the film was "dull" and needed editing. Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 51 out of 100, based on 32 reviews.
Manohla Dargis of the New York Times called the film "more slog than romp" and an "oddly plotted and frantically paced pastiche." She added, "The film is both underwritten and overedited. Many of the scenes seem to have been whittled down to the nub, which at times turns it into a succession of wordless gestures and poses. Given the generally risible dialogue, this isn’t a bad thing."
Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle said, "This in an enjoyable movie with an entertaining angle on a hard-to-resist period of history ... Portman's performance, which shows a range and depth unlike anything she's done before, is the No. 1 element that tips The Other Boleyn Girl in the direction of a recommendation ... [She] won't get the credit she deserves for this, simply because the movie isn't substantial enough to warrant proper attention."
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone stated, "The film moves in frustrating herks and jerks. What works is the combustible teaming of Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson, who give the Boleyn hotties a tough core of intelligence and wit, swinging the film's sixteenth-century protofeminist issues handily into this one."
Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian awarded the film three out of five stars, describing it as a "flashy, silly, undeniably entertaining Tudor romp" and adding, "It is absurd yet enjoyable, and playing fast and loose with English history is a refreshing alternative to slow and tight solemnity; the effect is genial, even mildly subversive ... It is ridiculous, but imagined with humour and gusto: a very diverting gallop through the heritage landscape."
Sukhdev Sandhu of The Telegraph said, "This is a film for people who prefer their costume dramas to gallop along at a merry old pace rather than get bogged down in historical detail ... Mining relatively familiar material here, and dramatising highly dubious scenarios, [Peter Morgan] is unable to make the set-pieces seem revelatory or tart ... In the end, The Other Boleyn Girl is more anodyne than it has any right to be. It can't decide whether to be serious or comic. It promises an erotic charge that it never carries off, inducing dismissive laughs from the audience for its soft-focus love scenes soundtracked by swooning violins. It is tasteful, but unappetising."
See also 
- Mitchell, Wendy (9 March 2007). "A royal welcome". Screen International (Emap Media).
- "Natalie Portman The Other Boleyn Girl Interview". Girl.com.au. Retrieved 06-07-2009.
- Bamigboye, Baz (September 1, 2006). "Scarlett's Royal scandal". Mail Online. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- Fischer, Paul. "Bana Takes on Kings and Icons". Film Monthly.com. Retrieved 06-07-2009.
- "Interview: Eric Bana, The other Boleyn Girl". Get Frank. Retrieved 06-07-2009.
- http://www.bbc.co.uk/kent/content/image_galleries/the_other_boleyn_girl_2008_gallery.shtml BBC Kent website
- [dead link] Ely cathedral was a major location for the film
- "Berlinale Archive Annual Archives 2008 Programme". Berlin International Film Festival. Retrieved 06-17-2009.
- Blaney, Martin (January 18, 2008). "Berlinaleadds world premieres including The Other Boleyn Girl". Screen International. Retrieved 06-17-2009.
- "The Other Boleyn Girl (2008) - International Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- "The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- "Other Boleyn Girl, The (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- Dargis, Manohla (February 29, 2008). "Rival Sisters Duke It Out for the Passion of a King". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- LaSalle, Mick (February 29, 2008). "Review: Sisters face off in 'Other Boleyn Girl'". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- Travers, Peter (March 20, 2008). "Other Boleyn Girl". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- Bradshaw, Peter (March 7, 2008). "The Other Boleyn Girl". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- Sandhu, Sukhdev (March 7, 2008). "Film reviews: The Other Boleyn Girl and Garage". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
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