While watching The Other Boleyn Girl, I couldn’t help but think of the greatest Bree Van De Kamp quote:
“When I was young, my stepmother told me that I was very lucky.
“I possessed beauty, wit, cunning, and insight.
“These were weapons all women needed to survive in the world.”
The Other Boleyn Girl tells the story of Anne (Natalie Portman) and Mary Boleyn (Scarlett Johansson) – sisters driven by their beyond ambitious father and uncle to advance their family's status by courting the affections of King Henry Tudor (Eric Bana).
“Traded like cattle,” is more like it, as their mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) would say.
Only Anne possesses all of the characteristics described by the Desperate Housewives character, however, and this, of course, creates conflict and drama and distance between her and her sister.
Leaving behind the simplicity of country life, the girls are thrust into the dangerous and seducing and thrilling world of court life.
What began as a bid to help their family develops into a contest between the two for the love of the king – they are sisters, and therefore born to be rivals. While one is driven by ambition, the other is driven by true affection, though.
In the end, after the two have outwitted, outsmarted, and outplayed each other, they (and England) will be torn apart – natch. Remember: Ambition pays off if it’s coupled with kindness, kids. Now play nice.
The Other Boleyn Girl is at its wicked best when Portman is on screen.
She shines as the conniving and fearless Anne, and easily outshines Johansson’s “fairer” Mary.
This movie is a beguiling soap-operatic version of 16th century England, and thus should not be taken as a history lesson.
You will have a grand ol’ time if you think of it as entertainment…and then open an encyclopedia.
My Rating ***