Reviewed by: Jennifer Constantine
|Featuring:||Natalie Portman (as Anne Boleyn), Scarlett Johansson (Mary Boleyn), Eric Bana (King Henry VIII)|
|Producer:||Mark Cooper, Alison Owen, Jane Robertson, Scott Rudin|
|Distributor:||Columbia Pictures and Focus Features|
“The only thing that could come between these sisters… is a kingdom.”
The History of the Tudors of England has fascinated historians (and regular people like this reviewer) for centuries. Henry and his six wives, as well as the struggle for the throne after his death is anything but humdrum, and so it seems rather a shame that “The Other Boleyn Girl” sees the need to take more than a little creative license with facts—changing something here, deleting another there, adding to spice up…
If you go in knowing nothing of the real history behind the movie, you will come away with a somewhat distorted picture of what really happened. The actress playing Catherine of Aragon (Anna Torrent) is beautiful, but we know from portraits that by the time she had endured several miscarriages and Henry had started looking to a mistress to provide a male heir that Catherine was overweight and middle-aged. If we take the story literally, we come away thinking that Elizabeth-I who eventually succeeded Henry was the product of rape. Henry certainly had many faults; do we need to add rapist to the list, without any substantiating evidence?
Then there is Mary Boleyn, whom very little is known about. We do know that she gave birth to a son named Henry, who historians agree was most probably Henry's. The entire story about a rivalry between her and sister Anne is, at best, speculation, as is the rumored affair Anne had with their brother George.
On the spiritual side, other than the aforementioned rape and discussion concerning incest, there are many things that viewers may find offensive. One is the sex scenes. Although the only nudity is Henry (Eric Bana) shown bare-chested, most of the scenarios are not between husband and wife, but are adulterous. Marriage is taken very lightly.
Selfish ambition is not shown in a positive light, but Mary seems at times to judge Anne for her betrayal, when in reality, Mary has done the same thing to Catherine.
In another scene Mrs. Boleyn states that God has turned his back on the situation, which we know from scripture is not true:
Psalm 139:8 states: “If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.”
I don't, however, recommend this movie, since the sex and violence are gratuitous and not even historically accurate in all cases.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.