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:: The Other Boleyn Girl

As we enter the medieval and bizarre world of King Henry VIII’s turbulent love-life, it is not hard to figure out where the tragic ending of this film is heading, or more to the point beheading. The Other Boleyn Girl, nevertheless, brings to the screens the unique and lesser known historical story of sisters Anne and Mary Boleyn.

Anne (Natalie Portman) is given the strange task by her father to seduce King Henry (Eric Bana), who is estranged from his current wife Catherine of Aragon due to her failure to produce a male heir to the throne. Ambitious Anne, much to her disappointment, is unsuccessful at this task. But her younger and more innocent sister Mary (Scarlett Johansson) manages without trying to catch the wandering eye of the King and both are invited to live in the royal court. A bitter sibling rivalry begins as each sister fights for his attention.

Natalie Portman does not seem to have enough strength behind her to play the powerful role of Anne, who eventually forces the King to divorce his wife and break with the Catholic Church. Mary seems to be the only character with some sense and walks away with some dignity at the end of the film. The girl’s father lacks any human emotions by forcing his daughters to sexually lure the King and the King seems to have the same emotions missing when he discards his male heir born by Mary.

The girl’s mother constantly strives to lecture her daughters about feminism, but never actually does anything about it. Anne will stop at nothing to keep the throne, sending her own sister away and even considers incestuous relations with her brother to produce an heir. Coming from a selfish and morally deficient family, Anne is seemingly blind to the tragedy eventually befalls her.

The Other Boleyn Girl leaves viewers wondering many things about the morals of the central characters in this film and lacks an emotional edge. On the upside, it is an entertaining story, which includes a star cast, many sexual encounters, wayward romances and too many scandals too count. Not to mention grand castle and regal costumes to add to the effect. A starting formula for success, right?

Too many questions are left unanswered in this royal Hollywood remake, but if nothing else it provokes thought about what really happened in the fascinating lives of Anne and Mary Boleyn.