Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Other Boleyn Girl

I can't believe how much I got into the movie The Other Boleyn Girl. I knew that it was based on a true story, true historical events, and I really like the main actors' work, so I gave it a shot. I am blown away by it!

I remember briefly learning about England's monarchs in my British Lit classes, all of a forty minute class to explain it all. I remember hearing "womanizers" and "mistresses" but I never really got deeper stories into this. So, this movie clued me in a little, but I keep thinking this question:

How accurate is this movie? Does anyone know where the movie is questionable and what is actually true?

I know that scripts add a lot of drama and dialogue that was obviously not true. It's just to add effect. But what about the bigger plot details? Love childs and deaths and mistresses and parental involvement? I want to know the truth so I can get it straight!

According to Wikipedia, these are the faults of the movie, where the historical fiction piece might be incorrect:

The birth order of the sisters.
The sexuality of George Boleyn.
The paternity of Mary Boleyn's children.
The role of the Boleyn parents.
Anne Boleyn's wardship of Henry Carey.
The sexual experience of Mary Boleyn.
Motivations and characterization of Anne Boleyn.
Incest between Anne and George Boleyn.

Apparently, Mary also had an affair with the French monarch? This was not apparent at all in the movie. She appeared to be the "good child" who was honest and sincere. Anne was mischevious and plotting.

What I do like about the film is that it is a great social commentary of the time. I really like when one of the smaller male characters in the movie states that "court can change people, and not for the good." Basically, coming out of the country to a more city-based life will change people to be worse characters. There is competition, greed, lying, cheating, stealing, etc. all to get ahead!

And here, the women use their sexuality to try to elevate their status. What I enjoy was also a shorter commentary on how to "get" a man and keep him. The original queen was loyal and obedient, but she was old and not sexually active with her husband. She cannot give him what he wants anymore (sex and children--the male heir). He did not desire her, thus he throws her out. Then Mary is easy and has sex with him immediately. He has had her, so he can throw her out. There is nothing else to look forward to. But, what I didn't get is that she gave him what his wife couldn't (the male heir) and he threw her away! Why??? It doesn't make sense! Then Anne came along and teased him, played hard to get. This was the one that he marries, but the lengths he has to go to in order to marry her brings out bad characteristics in himself. Then he ends up resenting her for ruining his character. He dislikes her and sexually hurts her (with rape and emotions). Then she cannot produce the male heir so she goes to extremes to get it for him (which ends up costing her life). Look at how deep these relationships say about male/female relationships. It's a lot, and it's complex.

I also liked the mother saying how far will we go for status? Everything ends up being lost in this fight: happiness, love choices, strong family relationships, offspring, and eventually their lives. It ends up asking the question: What is more important, happiness or fame? This is still true and relevant today.

I also can't believe how villainous Henry VIII was! I mean, I can because when men get power (absolute power), they can do anything they want. It's hard not to blame them (even though we do because they were just too cruel at times). He toyed with women and threw them away so quickly--it was so hard to watch. And he could control anything he wanted to! He had no sympathy for hurting women, even killing them! Mary begged for her sister's life and he disregarded it like it was nothing. Ridiculous. He only looks out for himself and his public image as king. I know he has to be careful of that because he is a leader, but he should have been much more careful then in his social/sexual life decisions so it didn't turn out like this! Too selfish--thinking too much with something other than his head.

But, excellent acting on the behalf of the actors. All of them--wonderful. I was blown away by certain scenes with Natalie Portman. Eric Bana was a great villain. The Boelyn mother acted as the perfect voice of reason. She was stunning.

So, what did you think of The Other Boleyn Girl? What is right/wrong in the movie? Inform me!

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