Not unlike Anne Boleyn herself, the movie version of Philippa Gregory's bestselling novel The Other Boleyn Girl is both greatly ambitious and flawed. It's lovely to look at, yet unsatisfying as a film. In some ways, it seems like a video that will soon be used in history classes as one of the many ways we can view Anne Boleyn's life and death. It's not the grand cinematic experience I'd hoped for as I read the novel for this month's book club.
In this version of Gregory's work, Anne is forced by her family — against her will, at first — to seduce England's King Henry VIII. Henry's queen, Katherine of Aragon, has not been able to produce a male heir to the throne, so Anne's uncle, the Duke of Norfolk — played as the one true villain of the story by David Morrissey — decides Anne should have a boy by Henry, thus allowing the whole family to advance. Yet when Henry suffers a hunting accident and Anne is blamed for it, the Duke makes Anne's sister Mary (Scarlett Johansson) become Henry's mistress. She's, you know, the other Boleyn girl. There's so much else to talk about with this film, so read more