The Other Boleyn Girl (2008 film): Wikis


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The Other Boleyn Girl

Original poster
Directed by Justin Chadwick
Produced by Alison Owen
Written by Peter Morgan
Philippa Gregory (Novel)
Starring Natalie Portman
Eric Bana
Jim Sturgess
Scarlett Johansson
Kristin Scott Thomas
Mark Rylance
Ana Torrent
David Morrissey
Music by Paul Cantelon
Cinematography Kieran McGuigan
Editing by Paul Knight
Carol Littleton
Studio BBC Films
Relativity Media
Distributed by Columbia Pictures (USA)
Focus Features (International)
Release date(s) February 15, 2008 (2008-02-15) (Berlin)
02008-02-29 February 29, 2008 (United States)
02008-03-07 March 7, 2008 (United Kingdom)
Running time 115 minutes
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget $35 million
Gross revenue $77,713,866

The Other Boleyn Girl is a 2008 drama film directed by Justin Chadwick. The screenplay by Peter Morgan was adapted from the 2001 novel of the same name by Philippa Gregory. It is a romanticized account of the lives of 16th-century aristocrats Mary Boleyn, one-time mistress of King Henry VIII, and her sister Anne, who became the monarch's ill-fated second wife, though much history is distorted.

Production studio BBC Films also owns the rights to adapt the sequel novel, The Boleyn Inheritance, which tells the story of Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Jane Boleyn.[1]



When Catherine of Aragon fails to give England a male heir, the Duke of Norfolk and his brother in law, Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire, plan to install Thomas' elder daughter Anne in the court of Henry VIII of England. Howard and Thomas Boleyn hope that Anne will become the King's mistress and potential mother of his son, thereby furthering their own political ambitions, much to the disgust of Thomas' wife and the duke's sister, Lady Elizabeth Boleyn. Although Anne initially refuses because she knows being a mistress can damage her reputation, she finally agrees to please her father and uncle. Anne's younger sister, Mary Boleyn, marries William Carey, even though he had asked for Anne's hand. Her father thought that Anne could do better than William Carey and thus offered Mary as a substitute.

While visiting the Boleyn estate, Henry is injured in a hunting accident, indirectly caused by Anne, and is nursed by her recently married sister, Mary. While in her care, Henry becomes smitten by her and invites her to court. With great reluctance, Mary and her husband William Carey agree, knowing full well what will be expected of her. Anne and Mary become ladies-in-waiting to Queen Catherine, and Henry sends for Mary to join him in his room. Mary does not resist when William is sent away on an assignment by the king, as she finds herself falling in love with Henry.

Rebellious Anne secretly marries the nobleman Henry Percy, who was engaged to Mary Talbot. Anne confides in her brother George. who thinks this is wonderful news and tells Mary about the secret marriage. Fearing that Anne will ruin her reputation by marrying without the king's consent, Mary alerts her father and uncle about the secret elopement. The men confront Anne, who argues that what has been done before God can't be undone and that the marriage has been consummated. Despite this, the marriage is annulled and she is exiled to France in disgrace. Feeling that Mary betrayed her to increase her own fortune, Anne vows revenge.

Despite the scandal, the family's fortunes seem secured when Mary becomes pregnant. However, Elizabeth Boleyn, Countess of Wiltshire and Ormond warns Thomas and Norfolk that the king's favor can be taken away as easily as it is given, but the men ignore her. Thomas Boleyn becomes Earl of Wiltshire, and George Boleyn becomes Viscount Rochford. They receive a number of new grants and estates, so their debts are paid and the king arranges for George to marry Jane Parker.

When Mary nearly suffers a miscarriage, she is confined to bed for the remainder of her pregnancy. Norfolk recalls Anne to England to keep Henry's attention from wandering to another rival, particularly Jane Seymour. Still deeply hurt by Mary's betrayal, Anne embarks on a successful campaign to win Henry over, showing she has grown more mature than prior to her exile. By withholding her sexual favors, Anne drives Henry to vow to never again bed his wife Catherine of Aragon, nor speak to Mary. Anne exacts this promise just after Mary gives birth to the much-anticipated son, making her victory hollow. Shortly afterwards, at Anne's suggestion, Henry sends Mary and her son, dubbed a bastard, back to the country. In a deleted scene, shortly after Mary's return, her husband William Carey dies from the sweating sickness.

The ambitious Anne encourages Henry to break from the Roman Catholic Church, when the Pope refuses to annul his marriage to Queen Catherine, despite Henry's insistence that her marriage to his older brother was consummated. Henry succumbs to Anne's demands, breaks from the Roman Catholic Church, declares himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England, and gets Thomas Wolsey to annul his marriage to Catherine. The scandal of Anne's brief, secret marriage to Henry Percy threatens her coming marriage to Henry until Mary, the only one Henry will trust, returns to court and lies on Anne's behalf, assuring him her union with Percy was not consummated.

Despite her plan's success, Anne's schemes drive Henry to his breaking point and he rapes her. Hurt and confused by the attack, a now pregnant Anne goes through with the marriage to please her family and becomes the new queen of England. Anne and Mary reach a reconciliation and Mary stays with her sister at court.

Despite the birth of a healthy daughter, Elizabeth, Henry is angry with Anne's failure to deliver a son and legitimate male heir to the throne. Mary remains in court and cares for her niece, Elizabeth. After Anne miscarries a son, she is hysterical and begs her brother George to impregnate her. Disgusted at this suggestion, Mary leaves court and moves to the countryside with William Stafford, whom she had fallen in love with. Anne and George do not sleep together because he refuses to impregnate Anne, and calms her back into reason; George's neglected wife Jane Parker witnesses enough of their encounter to become suspicious. She reports what she has seen, and Anne and George are both arrested. At the trial, Anne is found unanimously guilty of treason, adultery and incest. Distraught at the news of Anne and George's death sentences, Elizabeth Boleyn blames her husband and brother and vows never to forgive them for what their greed had done to their children.

Mary returns to court to plead for her siblings' lives, but arrives too late to save George, who is executed in front of his father. Mary begs Henry to spare her sister, referring to Anne as part of herself. The king softens and tells her he would never harm part of her. Believing that Henry has spared her sister, she leaves to see Anne right before the scheduled execution. The two sisters embrace and Anne tells Mary she never slept with their brother, and they truly reconcile. Before she leaves, Anne makes Mary promise to take care of Elizabeth if anything should happen to her. Mary watches from the crowd as Anne makes her final speech, waiting for the execution to be cancelled as Henry promised. A letter from Henry is given to Mary, which reveals he has decided not to stop the execution and save Anne. It also tells Mary that she was only spared because of his respect for her, and warns her never to come to court again. Horrified, she watches as her sister is beheaded. Mary then fulfills her last promise to Anne and leaves court with the toddler Elizabeth.

The closing captions reveal that Thomas Boleyn, disgraced and alone, died two years after the deaths of Anne and George. The Duke of Norfolk was later imprisoned and his next three generations – son, grandson and great grandson were executed for treason. Henry's breaking from the Roman Catholic Church changed England forever. Mary returned to the country, married William Stafford, and lived happily with him and her children away from court for the rest of her life. The captions also reveal that perhaps Henry should not have been concerned about leaving England with a strong heir because, in fact, he did: An heir who would rule England for forty-five years and transform it into one of the most powerful nations in Europe. However, it was not the son he desired, but the strong red-haired girl Anne gave him: Queen Elizabeth I.



Filming took place in Kent, UK and the main places used for filming were the historical buildings in the area. Hever Castle, which was the original household of the Boleyn family from 1505–1539, was used for filming, along with nearby Knole House in Sevenoaks. The Baron's Hall in Penshurst Place was also used as a set as was Dover Castle in which the castle "played" the Tower of London in the film.



The film was first released in theaters on February 29, 2008, though its world premiere was held at the 58th Berlin International Film Festival held on February 7–17, 2008.[6][7] The film earned $9,442,224 in the United Kingdom,[8] and $26,814,957 in the United States and Canada. The combined worldwide gross of the film was $75,598,644,[8] more than double the film's $35 million budget.

Home media

The film was released in Blu-ray and DVD formats on June 10, 2008. Extras on both editions include an audio commentary with director Justin Chadwick, deleted and extended scenes, character profiles, and featurettes. The Blu-ray version includes BD-Live capability and an additional picture-in-picture track with character descriptions, notes on the original story, and passages from the original book.

Critical reception

The film received mixed to positive reviews. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 41% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 133 reviews. One such review said the film was "dull" and needed editing.[9] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 51 out of 100, based on 32 reviews.[10]

Manohla Dargis of the New York Times called the film "more slog than romp" and an "oddly plotted and frantically paced pastiche." She added, "The film is both underwritten and overedited. Many of the scenes seem to have been whittled down to the nub, which at times turns it into a succession of wordless gestures and poses. Given the generally risible dialogue, this isn’t a bad thing."[11]

Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle said, "This in an enjoyable movie with an entertaining angle on a hard-to-resist period of history ... Portman's performance, which shows a range and depth unlike anything she's done before, is the No. 1 element that tips The Other Boleyn Girl in the direction of a recommendation ... [She] won't get the credit she deserves for this, simply because the movie isn't substantial enough to warrant proper attention."[12]

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone stated, "The film moves in frustrating herks and jerks. What works is the combustible teaming of Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson, who give the Boleyn hotties a tough core of intelligence and wit, swinging the film's sixteenth-century protofeminist issues handily into this one."[13]

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian awarded the film three out of five stars, describing it as a "flashy, silly, undeniably entertaining Tudor romp" and adding, "It is absurd yet enjoyable, and playing fast and loose with English history is a refreshing alternative to slow and tight solemnity; the effect is genial, even mildly subversive ... It is ridiculous, but imagined with humour and gusto: a very diverting gallop through the heritage landscape."[14]

Sukhdev Sandhu of The Telegraph said, "This is a film for people who prefer their costume dramas to gallop along at a merry old pace rather than get bogged down in historical detail ... Mining relatively familiar material here, and dramatising highly dubious scenarios, [Peter Morgan] is unable to make the set-pieces seem revelatory or tart ... In the end, The Other Boleyn Girl is more anodyne than it has any right to be. It can't decide whether to be serious or comic. It promises an erotic charge that it never carries off, inducing dismissive laughs from the audience for its soft-focus love scenes soundtracked by swooning violins. It is tasteful, but unappetising."[15]

See also


  1. ^ Mitchell, Wendy (9 March 2007). "A royal welcome". Screen International (Emap Media).
  2. ^ "Natalie Portman The Other Boleyn Girl Interview". Retrieved 06-07-2009. 
  3. ^ Bamigboye, Baz (September 1, 2006). "Scarlett's Royal scandal". Mail Online. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  4. ^ Fischer, Paul. "Bana Takes on Kings and Icons". Film Retrieved 06-07-2009. 
  5. ^ "Interview: Eric Bana, The other Boleyn Girl". Get Frank. Retrieved 06-07-2009. 
  6. ^ "Berlinale Archive Annual Archives 2008 Programme". Berlin International Film Festival. Retrieved 06-17-2009. 
  7. ^ Blaney, Martin (January 18, 2008). "Berlinaleadds world premieres including The Other Boleyn Girl". Screen International. Retrieved 06-17-2009. 
  8. ^ a b "The Other Boleyn Girl (2008) - International Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  9. ^ "The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  10. ^ "Other Boleyn Girl, The (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  11. ^ Dargis, Manohla (February 29, 2008). "Rival Sisters Duke It Out for the Passion of a King". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  12. ^ LaSalle, Mick (February 29, 2008). "Review: Sisters face off in 'Other Boleyn Girl'". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  13. ^ Travers, Peter (March 20, 2008). "Other Boleyn Girl". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  14. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (March 7, 2008). "The Other Boleyn Girl". Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  15. ^ Sandhu, Sukhdev (March 7, 2008). "Film reviews: The Other Boleyn Girl and Garage". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 

External links

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