19/11/2017

The Other Boleyn Girl, 2008 - ★★★

This was an enjoyable enough watch, but having read other Philippa Gregory books (though not the one on which this film is based), I can’t help feeling that the film didn’t really do it justice. I have however read both Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, so I’m aware that there was a lot more complexity and politics going on than we see here, even if Gregory’s book is perhaps rather more loosely based on the historical facts.

It feels far too brief and superficial, and we never really get a feel for the character’s motivations. William Stafford, for example makes only the briefest appearances during most of the film, then suddenly appears happily married to Mary right at the end. The time between Anne first being courted by Henry to her execution feels rushed and glossed over. I think all the leads did the best that they could with the script (though I didn’t buy Eric Bana as King Henry - where was the red hair?), but what they were given wasn’t quite good enough.

As I said, I enjoyed it well enough despite that, partly because I was distracted by the glorious fabrics on show, and the width of Henry’s shoulders in his puffy sleeves. I swear he had to turn sideways to get through some of the doorways. His style of dress is historically accurate if you look at the portraits of the King at that time, but I guess it hadn’t struck me before how physically imposing and dominating it is, which I’m sure was the whole point.

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