A sumptuous and sensual tale of intrigue, romance and betrayal set against the backdrop of a defining moment in European history: two beautiful sisters, Anne and Mary Boleyn, driven by their family's blind ambition, compete for the love of the handsome and passionate King Henry VIII.

1 Jan 2009 - 12:00 AM  UPDATED 15 Aug 2016 - 1:31 PM
3

Based on the best selling novel by Philippa Gregory, The Other Boleyn Girl is the story of two sisters, Anne and Mary Boleyn. Under pressure from their overbearing, ambitious father to improve their social status, they are sent to the city to court King Henry VIII.

Leaving behind the simplicity of country life, the girls are thrust into the ruthless, backstabbing world of court life where they themselves become infected. The Boleyn girls battle for the love of the King - one driven by relentless ambition, the other by honest affection.

Whilst “The Other Boleyn Girl” is lavish to look at and highly entertaining at the start, stylistically it is all over the place.

I wasn't quite sure what British director Justin Chadwick and screenwriter Peter Morgan were trying to achieve as the story would swing from serious drama to soap opera in the blink of an eye.

Peter Morgan recently had terrific success with his Oscar nominated script for “The Queen”. I was surprised with this follow up effort, as it lent itself to pettiness and weak dialogue rather than an enlightening investigation of life in King Henry's orbit.

Whilst at times, the film is fun and enjoyable, the main problem is the focus of the narrative itself… the piece is centred on the sisters' bitter rivalry, leaving little room for anything more mature or revealing.

The saving grace of the film is the performances of the three leads. Eric Bana was a strong King and both Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman were believable as the Boleyn girls.

If you like bodice ripping melodrama, “The Other Boleyn Girl” is definitely up your alley – but for me it was a little thin and rates 3 stars.