A sumptuous and sensual tale of intrigue, romance and betrayal set against the backdrop of a defining moment in European history: two beautiful sisters, Anne and Mary Boleyn, driven by their family's blind ambition, compete for the love of the handsome and passionate King Henry VIII. Written by
The Other Boleyn Girl is a compelling film due to the exceptional performances and the splendid costumes. Additionally, there is simply a terrific story told about the relationship of Henry VIII and the two Boleyn sisters, Anne and Mary.
Natalie Portman (Anne) and Scarlett Johansson (Mary) are outstanding as characters engaged in both sibling rivalry and sisterly bonding. In the central relationship of the sisters, the film develops the social roles and imposed limitations on women in Tudor England.
One of the film's most moving character portrayals is the mother of the two Boleyn Sisters. In the heartbreaking performance of Kristin Scott Thomas, Elizabeth Boleyn can only watch helplessly as her daughters become pawns of the greedy men (Thomas Boleyn and the Duke of Norfolk), who use the young women much like pimps in order to line their pockets and further their own advancement at court. Another sterling aspect of the film is the portrayal of Katherine of Aragon (Ana Torent), another victim of the men due to the obsessive pursuit of Henry VIII to beget a male heir, leading to his momentous divorce from Katherine and England's break with the church of Rome.
While commentators may point out the omissions of many of the details from the novel by Philippa Gregory, the film is still true to the spirit of the book. It is also a faithful representation of the role of women in Tudor age. The film effectively presents the gender issues from the perspective of many of the remarkable women of the age along with the reminder of the greatest legacy of Anne Boleyn, which was the indirect result of her relationship of Henry VIII. That legacy was the future ruler of England...and also a woman: Elizabeth I.
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