GREEN'S BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR REVIEW:
This movie is a period piece taking place in 16th century England that tells the story of the two Boleyn sisters, Anne (Natalie Portman) and Mary (Scarlett Johansson) and their dalliances with a certain King of England, Henry VIII (Eric Bana) and all of the familial and court intrigue that surrounds the British nobility.
Holy Cow!! What a dysfunctional family the 16th century English royal family was! Even the nobility was screwed up! Dysfunctional, screwy or both but still sickeningly and extremely fascinating.
I first borrowed this DVD from the library earlier this year and meant to review it then. But then something weird happened. When I returned some other DVD's, the library accidentally noted that I had returned this one as well when I had not. So it sat on my shelf for months while I signed out & returned other DVD's. Then at the end of May, I had to return it - still unwatched - to the library. Then I saw it at the store where I buy the majority of my DVD's and broke down and bought it, primarily because a) I hadn't watched it even after holding on to it for so long, and b) because of the two phenomenal female lead actresses. It didn't hurt that I have some interest in that period of English history.
As far as historical dramas go, you can't get much better than this. As I watched the film, I wondered how far from the actual written history the novel/screenplay went for dramatic effect. Apparently not far, as the novel's author, Philippa Gregory, admits to doing extensive research on the period and characters in one of the DVD extras. I also thought that at one time or another during the film either Anne or Mary could be considered 'the other Boleyn girl' and in fact are as confirmed by the screenwriter, Peter Morgan, also in a DVD extra. I think it would be fascinating to read the 600+ page novel and compare it to the movie, a roughly 120 page screenplay. I felt better about the movie after hearing Gregory praise the work that Morgan did in capturing the essence of the novel for the screen.
I had never heard of Justin Chadwick or what other films he may have directed and, as it turns out, rightly so. This appears to be his first big screen directorial effort amongst a resume of television show directing gigs. In other words, Chadwick did a good job with such a lavish production as this and has potential for other directing gigs.
The DVD extras include a short court biography of the historical figures portrayed in the film along with what it must have been like to be a lady in 16th century England and a short bit on bringing history to the screen.
This is an all around good movie and is worth your while to rent or own.
**** out of *****
The Other Boleyn Girl (2008, PG-13, 115 minutes), starring Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Eric Bana, Kristin Scott Thomas, Jim Sturgess, Mark Rylance and David Morrissey. Based on the novel by Philippa Gregory. Screenplay by Peter Morgan. Directed by Justin Chadwick.