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The Other Boleyn Girl

The only thing that could come between these sisters is a kingdom. 

Year: 2008 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from The Other Boleyn Girl

Director: Justin Chadwick

Starring: Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Eric Bana

The Other Boleyn Girl, based on the novel by Philippa Gregory, comes from BBC Films, which has a long and respected reputation for this sort of historic/costume drama motion picture. Ironically, none of the three leads in this very English tale are actually English.

The Other Boleyn Girl comprises two main parts. The first is a romantic melodrama about the sisterly rivalry between Anne (Portman) and Mary Boleyn (Johansson) for who will capture the affections of King Henry VIII (Eric Bana). The second part rushes through various historical events, such as the creation of the Church of England, to emphasize Anne's rise to prominence as the Queen of England, followed by her fall. The earlier scenes that have a more leisurely pace and which are less concerned with plot development are more enjoyable. Once the narrative has joined Anne and Henry in matrimony, it shifts into the fast lane and accelerates toward the unhappy conclusion. The consequence of this approach is that some audience members may sense things are missing during the race to the climax. The pace is so fast during this section that it's almost unseemly.

While it took a few minutes to get used to Natalie Portman speaking with a British accent, she pulls it off well and it seems natural. Natalie Portman is one of the best actresses in this film, and although it's a notably different portrayal of Anne Boleyn than most films, she pulls it off spectacularly. She's ambitious but aware that it's all falling apart due to her own actions. Her death scene is very tragic and although it differs very much from what the book presents, the last moments of Mary and Anne looking at each other are memorable. Eric Bana and Scarlett Johansson are wonderful as well.

Although I wouldn't recommend the film for history buffs that can't get over inaccuracies, or for people who find themselves incapable of loving a film different from the book, most will enjoy the dramatic passions and love affairs of the film.

Orville D'Silva

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Screenings of this film:

2007/2008 Summer Term (35mm)
2007/2008 Summer Term (35mm)