15 June 2008

The Other Boleyn Girl (i.e. the Stupid American Version of the Story)

This weekend J and I watched The Other Boleyn Girl. To get the awful taste out of our mouths, we also finally watched Gone Baby Gone. I recommend Gone Baby Gone if, like us, you are the last people on earth not to have seen it. But right now I have to gripe about the Other Boleyn Girl.

As someone obsessed very interested in Tudor England, I have read enough on the subject to know the basic plot-line. Especially regarding Henry VIII and his various wives. Yes, a lot of my "research" has been in the form of historical fiction, but I promise that I do my share of non-fiction reading as well.

The only [moderately] appropriately cast character was Scarlett Johansson. Natalie Portman is no Anne Boleyn, and the only thing Eric Bana has going for him as Henry VIII is his girth (comparing him to Jonathan Rhys Meyers, anyway). And going into it, I figured I would be bothered by the casting, but it turned out that the casting was the least of my concerns.

However, in the interest of time, I need to get off my chest the one thing that bothered me enough to warrant a blog post and ban further discussion of this crap in my house. I am referring to the scene where the Boleyn/Howard group is sitting down at the table, and someone mentions, in abject horror how their plot would mean that the king would break from the church. Oh My God! Break from the church?! Insert horrified face, here.

Jesus Christ. That's the whole POINT, isn't it? One of the political benefits of having a Boleyn on the throne was to reform the church, and they're not even portrayed as Reformists? Anne herself is known to have shared Reformist literature with the king. It's a good thing we don't have bricks in the house, because that's when one would have hit the TV.

The book took a lot of liberties that, while entertaining, were at least plausible - this movie didn't even attempt to pretend to know anything about anything - and what's more, they didn't even show any boobies, which is the only way I could convince J to watch this movie with me; we figured with Johansson and Portman, there'd be at least one far-fetched, stupidly inaccurate lesbian scene. I mean, I'm angry. We're talking exponentially worse than Everything is Illuminated, which at the very least stands on its own as a movie, and has a stellar cast.

Also, if I see another brown haired, dark eyed Spanish "beauty" playing Queen Katherine...I will be writing an angry letter to someone.

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