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The Other Boleyn Girl

3.1 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

An extraordinary tale of sex, passion and royal intrigue. This is the little-known story of Mary Boleyn who was mistress to King Henry VIII before he married her older sister, Anne. Inspired by Philippa Gregory's best selling novel, this film is about great families jockeying for position and using their daughters as pawns in a deadly game. Set during one of the most notorious periods in British regal history, it is a powerful narrative and at its heart is the relationship between two rivals - the Boleyn sisters.

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King Henry VIII and his passions are so gripping, viewers still can't get enough of them nearly five centuries later. Consider the riveting British drama The Other Boleyn Girl, witty, tragic, and as full of real emotions as, well, Jane Austen's novels. The BBC film, based on the novel by Philippa Gregory (and remade into a much glossier Hollywood version in 2008), allows the viewer to sympathize with the plight of women in 16th-century England, while being slightly revolted by the whole sticky mess.

Imagine two sisters whose father and entire family encourage them to debase themselves to curry favor with the handsome young King Henry (Jared Harris, Ocean's Twelve, To the Ends of the Earth). Mary Boleyn, played with winsome gravity by Natascha McElhone (Californication), is the first sister to catch the eye of the king, grown weary of his wife, Queen Katherine (Yolanda Vazquez, Notting Hill). "Use your wiles!" insists Mary's father, Sir Thomas Boleyn (noted British theater actor Jack Shepherd), as the appalled, newly married young woman tries to resist. Mary ultimately carries on an affair with the king and bears him an illegitimate son--but sister Anne sees her own opening as the king becomes restless again.

The film takes a decidedly modern approach to this period drama, by having the sisters occasionally speak directly to the camera, confessing their deepest desires (since clearly their own family couldn't care less). The men around them are desperate to advance their standing in the court and don't hesitate to push the young sisters into moral harm's way to get what they want. Things take a dangerous turn when Anne, played by the revelatory Jodhi May (Defiance), musters up ambition of her own to be not only a royal plaything but queen herself. The lack of a male heir, however, and Anne's own pride begin to spell her downfall, as her family distances themselves ("don't let that girl sink us all alongside her!" her horrified, and somewhat horrifying, father declares). It's the film's great achievement that though we know (most of) the end of the tale, we remain riveted to the very end. --A.T. Hurley


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Natascha McElhone
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 21, 2008
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00114XM04
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,741 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Other Boleyn Girl" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 7, 2008
Format: DVD
Hollywood is releasing a new adaptation of Phillipa Gregory's "The Other Boleyn Girl," so unsurprisingly the older BBC adaptation is also (finally) seeing the light of American day.

And it's a pleasant, intimate little look at the difficult world of women in Tudor England. It's hampered by what is obviously a very low budget, but Jodhi May and Jared Harris turn in performances that knock it a few notches higher. Seriously, they're both amazing.

While serving Queen Katherine, Mary Boleyn (Natascha McElhone) catches the eye of King Henry VIII (Jared Harris), and soon her scheming, power-hungry family has shoved her into his bed. Initially she's horrified and ashamed, but soon finds that she's starting to fall in love with the charming king.

Meanwhile, Mary catches her sister Anne (Jodhi May) in bed with an engaged courtier, and the disgraced girl is sent away. When Anne returns, Mary is pregnant, and the Boleyn family is afraid of losing Henry's favor. But when he meets Anne, Henry immediately drops Mary, and becomes enraptured by the ambitious, frank young girl.

But Anne's one mistake -- and exile -- have hardened her, and she's determined not to be the "king's whore" like her sister, but his wife. Amid a storm of angry protest, Henry divorces his wife and marries Anne. But when she gives birth to another daughter, her position begins to slip...

"The Other Boleyn Girl" is not an epic movie -- it's more of a Tudor chick-flick. The big issues (women's reduced rights, splitting from the Catholic Church, poor Katherine of Aragon) are pushed to the background, in favor of a more intimate look at two young women's lives.
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By Iris on February 25, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The first time I saw this movie I hated it. I had been expecting a serious costume drama that followed the book precisely. This is not that, so anyone expecting it should be warned.

I don't know why, but I found myself watching it again (long after the first occasion) and I liked it much better.

Yes, the costumes and sets are terrible. There was clearly a pitiful production budget for this. Where the movie redeems itself is in the performances. Jodhi May is excellent. Her transition from lovestruck girl to scheming woman is very well done. The other performances are all solid (although Jared Harris comes off a little mild as King Henry). I also liked the music. It's not epic, but very moody, melancholy, and elegant.

Some of the dialogue is ad libbed and the director uses a confessional camera technique (a la reality tv) to allow the characters to say what's on their minds directly to the audience. It's jarring, unexpected, probably my least favorite choice for narrative. But at the same time, it held my attention.

Overall, it's an odd little movie. But anyone who is curious should give it a try. (I think that after seeing the new version opening this week, I may find myself wishing they'd combined the production values of 2008 with the cast from 2003.)
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Format: DVD
I feel that this movie, compared to the American version, follows the book a little bit more closely. When I saw the American version, I was appalled at how the movie did not follow the book in any manner. They made it seem like the whole part of history (several years worth) happen in 3 months. I will admit that the book is excellent, so it is hard for any movie adaptation to match up to that caliber. At least this movie tries.
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The story of the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn certainly has enjoyed a lot of exposure lately with two years of the Showtime series The Tudors - The Complete First Season full swing and the 2008 Hollywood adaptation of Philippa Gregory's novel, The Other Boleyn Girl, starring Natalie Portman as the ill-fated second wife of Henry VIII now released on DVD. With these money-generating Tudor-related vehicles generating such popularity, it comes as little surprise that an older once-televised version is now seeing the light of day. Be that as it may, I have grown weary with the actual telling of the tale in this instance. Or perhaps the fault lies in the production quality of the 2003 BBC version of the same story crafted by Ms. Gregory in her 500+ page novel. Whereas the Hollywood version sparkles with colorful jewel toned sets exemplifying the opulence of King Eric Bana's court and a bevy of model-esque beauties of the blonde, brunette and redhead categories statuesquely adorn the royal auspices of Jonathan Rhys Meyer's Pre-Elizabethan world, this 90 minute drama seems anemically plebian in comparison. Ultimately, however, the main fault seems to be in the selection of the piece's main character.

Although Natascha McElhone plays the part of Françoise Gilot, Picasso's live-in lover in the 1996 film
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