The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)

(TMN Go streaming, May 2017) I recall learning about Anne Boleyn and the dramatic imbroglios of her time in high school, and it frankly seemed far more dramatic than The Other Boleyn Girl’s overcooked yet dull melodrama. Despite the bright green dress on nearly every poster or cover of the film, the film is colourless both in visual richness and narrative effect. Despite high drama, a mad king, suggestions of incest, death and impossible choices, this is a costume drama that seems to rely too much on telling a sideshow rather than the big story. As much fun as it can be seeing Scarlett Johannsen and Nathalie Portman playing historical characters, The Other Boleyn Girl goes through the motions without engaging the viewer. It doesn’t help that even as it doesn’t succeed as a dramatized portrayal of events, it fails as a nominally accurate portrayal of real events—the list of historical issues with the film seems longer than the plot summary itself. It all amounts to a significant disappointment—made even worse by the richness of the historical material, which the film seemingly can’t use effectively. When classroom material is favourably compared to a movie … there’s a problem.

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