Saturday, March 29, 2008


Rating : 3.0/5
Genre : Historical Romance
Director : Justin Chadwick

Based on the bestseller of the same name by Philppa Gregory starring Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn, Scarlett Johansson as her sister Mary Boleyn and Eric Bana as Henry Tudor. The story follows the Boleyn sisters and their family as the King starts to look around for a mistress. His wife and Queen, Katherine of Aragon, has given him a daughter but seems unable to provide a male royal heir and Henry is desperate that the kingdom is secure after him. Anne is put forward to try for the Kings favour, but after a nearly fatal mistake Mary catches his eye and becomes his mistress despite being newly married.

Anne makes another blunder whilst at court and is sent away to France in disgrace. Whilst Mary is in seclusion pregnant with the Kings child, his eye starts to wander towards other ladies in the court and so Anne is brought back to keep him focused on her sister. Soon her ambition seizes control of her and she starts to pursue the King for herself. She is aiming for the impossible, to get him to put Katherine aside and make herself his wife and Queen of England.

I love the book and wasn't impressed with the trailers I had seen making me unsure if I wanted to watch it or not. I am glad I did for the most part. It was beautifully shot with stunning costumes and sets. The actors were not who I would have chosen but surprised me by being better than expected. There were a couple of moments when Anne was newly back from France where I thought Portman's acting fell short, but she stepped up her game again when she gets her wish but things begin to fall apart for her. The tone of the book was a little lost as Gregory spent quite a lot of time describing court intrigue and the sisters relationship, but obviously things need to be cut in a film version. The only thing that threw it off for me was that Mary's husband just disappeared once she bedded the King and was never mentioned or seen again. My other problem was that Anne became the focus of the film when really I felt it should have been more Mary's story. Overall I enjoyed it more than I was expecting (perhaps because my expectations were lower going in) and could quite happily watch it again.

5 comments:

Nymeth said...

I'm staying away from this one until I read the book, but after that I do want to watch it. It sounds good, but not as good as the book. Then again, that's always hard, especially when the book is so detailed.

Kim L said...

I haven't read this book, but I just asked to borrow it from my sister. I also want to read it before seeing the movie. I think I might enjoy the movie a little more. Thanks for the great review.

Trish said...

I've been interested in people's reactions to the movie. A coworker recently saw it after just finishing the book (we read it the same time), and she mentioned that the characterization of the two girls is very different from the book. For example, she said that Anne in the movie is a lot more mild than Anne in the book--that the viewer almost feels a little bad for her. Anyway, glad to read another's thoughts!

Josette said...

The movie kinda blew me away! I enjoyed watching it and I can't wait to read the book. The actors were great...I didn't know Natalie Portman could do such a role.

Anyway, I prefer to watch the movie before reading the book. =)

Alice Teh said...

I almost bought the book but didn't. There are seriously too many books out there. LOL.

Maybe I will now. :)