Movie Review: ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ lacks depth

The story certainly provided an opportunity for an intriguing film about men’s power over women. However, the feminist politics of the movie are lost in “The Other Boleyn Girl,” which lacks character development and simply skims over a complex story, leaving many questions unanswered.

The Other Boleyn Girl” is a movie about two daughters, Anne Boleyn, played by Natalie Portman, and Mary Boleyn, played by Scarlett Johansson, who compete for the affections of the King of England, Henry VIII, played by Eric Bana. Anne’s father and uncle attempt to set her up as mistress to the King, but the plan fails and the King takes Mary as a lover instead. However, after her exile in France, Anne returns and successfully entices the King into discarding Mary and making her Queen of England. Unfortunately, Anne’s manipulation of the King causes her to lose her close relationship with Mary.

We have no idea why these people do what they do. Important events like the King’s severing of ties with the Catholic Church so he could marry Anne would have been great occasions for emotion and drama, but this event and others like it are barely mentioned. If an audience member is not paying close attention, he or she will miss these episodes altogether.

It appears the movie was only an excuse for good costumes and set designs.

The cast does not help the situation either. Bana does little else than sulk and scowl throughout the movie and Johansson is unable to convince us that she is anything other than an American in her twenties. Sadly, Portman, though certainly having the most interesting character in the movie, lacks the dominating on-screen presence that her character requires.

The movie’s ending appears to set itself up as a prequel to “Elizabeth” and “Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” both starring Cate Blanchett. It is unfortunate that “The Other Boleyn Girl” does not live up to the fine artistic craft of movie making found in these other films.

2 out of 5 stars