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Genre: Feature Film-Drama
Release Date: 12-DEC-2003
Media Type: DVD
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Top Customer Reviews
The story itself would make for a great Shakesparean tragedy if history hadn't written it first. I was quite moved at the cruel twists of fate that were handed out to this young girl. It is also a testament to the cruelty of parents to their children in sixteenth century England. This was commonplace at these times, even if one was of royal blood as Jane was.
The moving and historically accurate execution scene, in which the blindfolded Jane cannot find the block to rest her neck is quite heart wrenching. You want her to survive the circumstances that her family placed her in, and the wretchedness of her miserable upbringing. However, life is not a fairy tale, even for princesses; this is a profound example of the misery that many Tudor woman, including Elizabeth I, went through. I subtract one star for some of the historical inaccuracies, but overall it is a wonderful and moving film. It also makes you grateful that you did not live in those precarious times.
And, they even got part of the history right. In the 16th century people did argue passionately (and die) over religion, poor innocent Jane was the puppet of ruthlessly ambitious adults.
Blast it! That dumb love story ruined the whoe movie. There is absolutely no evidence that Jane and Guilford Dudley ever loved each other. Nor did they attempt to reform the coinage, build public schools, redistribute income... I think Jane's story is even more tragic when you realize that her horrible parents forced her into a loveless marriage to further their own ends.
But yet, the execution scene was true to the historical accounts. Can you imagine the horror of watching a blinfolded sixteen year old groping for the executioner's block, and asking: "Where is it? What do I do?"
If you ever go to London, visit the British Library where Jane's prayerbook is on display. The night before she died, she wrote a letter to her sister on the endpapers. The handwriting never wavers. What courage this innocent child had.
This rather heavy-handed account of Jane Grey's life has a lot of symbolism. In a very English hunting scene at the beginning (which closely resembles a Breughel painting), we see the elders in Jane's life closing in on a deer in much the same way they would trap Jane into serving their own corrupt ends. After Jane is whipped by her mother for her reluctance to marry the obnoxious Guildford Dudley, King Edward comforts her by giving her a puppet to play with. The symbolism of that moment at this point in the film is blantantly obvious.
Michael Hordern's Father Fekenham is a comforting presence in Jane's life, despite their disagreements over religion. He never hides the amount of respect he has for the young girl.
Inaccuracies of the film include the fact that Jane's parents, played by a hard-driven Patrick Stewart, and a ruthless Sarah Kestelman(who reaffirms the fact that the saintliness of Frances Grey's mother, Mary, who was Henry VIII's younger sister, truly skipped a generation)responded to Jane's initial refusal to marry Guildford by respectively slapping her in the face repeatedly and cursing her. While one is greatful that the audience is spared that, the nude scene between Jane and Guildford was a bit gratuitous, and as Jane was actually unwavering in her resentment of her chosen husband, it's highly unlikely that their union was consumated.Read more ›
At my young age, I was of course drawn to the romantic part of the story--I was hopelessly enchanted with Cary Elwes, and I'm sure the blossoming romance between Guildford and Jane caused me a great many sighs. Okay, so it is a little fairy-taleish and not exactly true to history (I once read that it is uncertain whether or not their marriage was ever consummated) but it was awfully fun to watch.
Now that I'm older, however, I've noticed some other things that interest me more than the love story, like the political machinations of Northumberland and Jane's parents, and the stark portrayal of the treatment of women in that time period. Jane was vitally important to the plans of her parents, and yet they beat her nearly senseless for refusing to marry Guildford Dudley.
Helena Bonham Carter and Cary Elwes are very believable in their roles--Jane seems otherworldly and disconnected from her feelings due to her obsession with learning; Guildford is a handsome rake who does actually have deep thoughts and ideas about things, contrary to what Jane thinks at first. Both roles were excellently played.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Awesome movie showcasing the young and very talented Carey Elwes and Helena Bonham-Carter! Great chemistry and perfect casting! Five stars plus!Published 1 month ago by Carol Currie
Realistic Props and well acted. The playback quality on my machine was a little below average. I recommend the film to history enthusists, and especially to those interested in... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Gerald L. Johnson
I very much like the performances of Carter and Elwes, but the direction is a little pedantic and plodding. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Lauren Lundgren