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The Other Boleyn Girl

3.6 out of 5 stars 643 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Based on the best-selling novel, The Other Boleyn Girl is a captivating tale of intrigue, romance and betrayal starring Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, and Eric Bana. Two sisters, Anne (Portman) and Mary (Johansson), are driven by their ambitious family to seduce the king of England (Bana) in order to advance their position in court. What starts as an opportunity for the girls to increase the family fortune becomes a deadly rivalry to capture the heart of a king and stay alive.


A tale of two sisters competing for the same king, The Other Boleyn Girl uses historical facts as window dressing for this work of fiction that is entertaining, if not wholly believable. Anne Boleyn (Natalie Portman) is the doe-eyed vixen ordered by her power-hungry uncle to bewitch King Henry VIII (Eric Bana). Her shy sister Mary (Scarlett Johansson) has always been in Anne's shadow; Anne is prettier, more accomplished, and desired by many men. So when the King picks Mary--the "other Boleyn girl"--as his mistress, Anne turns on her sister and schemes to become not only the King's consort, but his new queen. With a pair of American actresses in the lead roles and an Aussie portraying their hunky object of desire, the English accents are all over the place in this period piece with a modern feel. Though the Boleyn girls' mother points out that her "daughters are being traded like cattle for the advancement of men," it is Anne who ultimately throws her slight weight around to bully Henry into doing her bidding. When he begs her to give herself to him, Anne--wearing a Carrie Bradshaw-esque "B" pendant on her neck--counters, "Make me your Queen." Is the audience really supposed to believe that Henry the VIII--the most powerful man in the land--would divorce Catherine of Aragon, separate from the Catholic church, and put England in upheaval simply because Anne refused to sleep with him until he jumped through all her hoops? "I have torn this country apart for you," he hisses at her before finally getting his way. Based on Philippa Gregory's bestselling novel of the same name, The Other Boleyn Girl features an attractive cast and a familiar plot with some icky twists. Kieran McGuigan's cinematography is breathtaking and is as crucial to setting the film's tone as the dialogue. Actually, it fares better: Lines such as "Well? Did he have you?!" sound almost comical. But the sweeping shots of Henry's kingdom and the carefully framed close-ups of Portman and Johansson are breathtaking in their beauty and say what words simply cannot. --Jae-Ha Kim

Get to Know the Cast of The Other Boleyn Girl
(click on images to see more films from each actor)

Natalie Portman (Anne Boleyn)

Scarlett Johansson (Mary Boleyn)

Eric Bana (Henry Tudor)

Jim Sturgess (George Boleyn)

Kristin Scott Thomas (Lady Elizabeth Boleyn)

Beyond The Other Boleyn Girl

Paperback Book

On Blu-ray

The Soundtrack

Stills from The Other Boleyn Girl (click for larger image)

Special Features

  • Camera Tests with Narration by Director Justin Chadwick
  • Director's Commentary
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes
  • Members of the Court: Character Biographies
  • To Be A Lady - Court Etiquette featurette
  • Translating History to the Screen - how Philippa Gregory's best selling book came to life

Product Details

  • Actors: Natalie Portman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 10, 2008
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (643 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0012QE4Q2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,466 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Other Boleyn Girl" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on March 1, 2008
As a standalone movie, "The Other Boleyn Girl" is okay....not great, but okay. However, as someone who is a die-hard fan of Philippa Gregory's novel, I wasn't at all impressed with this film adaptation.

The problem with this movie is that the script sucks, pure and simple. Obviously, the basic plot is the same as the book: The young Mary Boleyn (Scarlett Johansson) is commissioned by her ambitious family to cast her husband aside and become the mistress of King Henry VIII (Eric Bana) while her older sister, Anne (Natalie Portman), jealously looks on. Eventually Henry's eyes drift over to Anne, who replaces Mary as the favorite and embarks on a dangerous plan to replace Queen Katherine (Ana Torrent) on the throne of England.

Unfortunately, this movie doesn't capture the energy and passion of Gregory's brilliant novel. The pacing is tediously slow, and so many details of the plot were changed for the film, for no apparent reason at all. The Boleyn girls grow up at court, so the way Mary and Henry initially meet was rewritten in the film. Mary had two children by Henry, but only the boy is shown in the movie. Lady Boleyn (Kristin Scott Thomas) was reinvented for the screen and is portrayed as a woman who actually gives a crap about her children, but in the book she supports the use of her daughters as pawns in the family's quest for power. I didn't understand what happened to Mary's first husband in the movie...he just sort of wanders off-screen 15 minutes into the film and is never seen or heard from again. (In the book, he dies from the sweat, which is why Mary is later free to marry William Stafford.) What else? I was disappointed in the way the incest issue was handled in the film.
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Format: DVD
Those of us over-40 folks remember fondly the great BBC mini-series of yesterday, The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Elizabeth R, incredibly acted and scripted, albeit lacking in Hollywood glossiness. The Other Boleyn Girl delivers on the gloss but the acting is mediocre at best, the writing several steps below mediocre. I rather like Natalie Portman, but her variable English accent was distracting, to say the least. (Obviously there is some logic in casting English actors in such roles.) I didn't find Eric Bana particularly appealing (maybe we hetero males aren't easily swayed by an actor's looks), and the rape of Anne is unhistorical and was obviously included to spice up a rather dull movie. (Tip to movie-makers: sex can actually be very titillating when it's just suggested, and off-screen.) After seeing this movie on DVD, I found myself dragging my old Six Wives of Henry VIII tapes out of the closet and relishing the great acting and the intelligent scripts, and the great actress Dorothy Tutin as Anne is a pretty tough act to follow. I really cannot recommend The Other Boleyn Girl as entertainment, much less as history. If scriptwriters want to sex up historical dramas, fine, but at least give us some credible dialogue and some actresses who can sound consistently English.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
After seeing this in the theatre, I was ready to give it 5 stars. I love period movies, especially about the Tudors, and I really enjoyed this one. However, after watching the deleted scenes on the DVD, I realized this movie should have been much better!

When I ordered the DVD, I had already resigned myself to little or no features. Elizabeth, and Elizabeth: The Golden Age were sorely lacking. Most period movies have few extras, despite having such a treasure trove of history to mine. However, I was surprised and delighted with the excellent selection of special features on this DVD! First, there are several deleted scenes, many of which should have been included in the film. For the most part, they centered around Mary and gave more insight into her life with her husband after Anne supplants her, plus some calculating scenes with Anne. One scene with Mary's husband upon seeing her "bastard" child of Henry was quite poignant. All of these would have enriched the movie to be more than just two women in rivalry for a king. It could have been 5 stars and would no doubt have pleased more people who saw the film. Also included in the extras was a feature called "To Be Lady" about court etiquette and the precarious life of a woman, even noble, in those times. It featured interviews with the author, some college history professors, and the cast/crew of the film. Women were often exploited in that time to the benefit (or detriment) of their families. And Mary and Anne were no exception. Another excellent feature was about translating history to film. They discussed the book vís á vís the movie, what they used of history, how the expanded on Mary's lesser known character.
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The Other Boleyn Girl is bound to give historian's mixed feelings, and has elicited a wide range of reactions from audiences. It benefit's from and adds to the interest surrounding King Henry VIII's royal court. Showtime's Tudors miniseries has heightened interest in all things related to English royal history.

Yet the writers have taken enough artistic liberties to raise questions regarding the accuracy of these accounts. This story is based on the historical fiction novel The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. Despite the artistic liberties taken with the story it is very well put together and interesting to watch for those willing to broaden their historical views on the period.

The Story and the Acting

The story of King Henry VIII's many romantic exploits are well known. He married Catherine of Aragon for political gain, yet engaged in many well publicized affairs. Eventually, each of the Boleyn sisters landed in his crosshairs.

Eric Bana is very good as the king, though his isn't the best written role in the film. Anne Boleyn's character is dynamic and vindictive, and Natalie Portman shows her range here. Her sister Mary, played by Scarlett Johansson, catches the King's attention. Though she is newly married, her husband is disposed of and the King has soon added her to his list of conquests.

But Anna will not be outdone. She coyly preys upon the King's desires, and soon becomes the object of his affections.

All three of these actors put in strong performances.
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