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Customer Review

on July 24, 1999
The woman that would become the mother of the greatest English monarch, Elizabeth I, is explored throughout this film. She was also the second queen of Henry VIII and the catalyst of the English Reformation. Inasmuch as Bujold gave a riveting performance as the stubborn, ambitious, and doomed Anne Boleyn, there were many historical inaccuracies. For historical purists like myself, this movie may be disappointing, but if you don't care, I highly recommend it. It is also visual candy for those that delight in costume drama.
This movie can be broken down into three sections, which in one poignant scene, Anne describes as the "thousand days".
The first section: Anne beguiles the most powerful man in England, Henry VIII, who has an almost torrid lust for her and must have her at all costs, including his immortal soul. I'll grant that historical accuracy. He breaks from the Catholic Church so he can divorce his first wife, Katharine of Aragon, to marry Anne. He strips those of power and office that cannot provide the consequences he so desires (the divorce). He also executes several opposers to the divorce, including the highly respected and beloved Sir Thomas More.
Second section: He beds Anne, marries her, and she becomes pregnant.
Third section: Anne delivers an unwanted female child who, in a sad irony, would become the future Queen Elizabeth I. Henry quickly tires of Anne, and after she delivers a stillborn son, her fate is sealed.
Bujold and Burton give superb acting performances and I was particularly moved at a sequence where the doomed and jailed Anne confronts her husband. In this sequence, she exclaims to him that "her" Elizabeth will be a "great queen" regardless of his aspirations for a son. The execution and the last sequence are quite moving. It is remarkable that not more movies were made about this fascinating woman, who though died in disgrace, left a great legacy behind. The legacy of Queen Elizabeth I.
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