01 May 2008
The Other Boleyn Girl
I enjoy a good period drama now and then, especialy one that draws on the rich materials of English history. I'm also willing to award a lot of latitude to those who take liberties with history. Shakespeare in Love was a great movie, as was The Knight's Tale, though they both took such liberties.
This movie ... sorry. There were some good things in it, but not enough of them.
Natalie Portman as the doomed Anne Boleyn, and Scarlett Johanssen as her sister Mary who lives to tell the tale, are both pretty enough. But the materials demand gravitas, and neither could muster much of that.
The movie's king and the first of its queens, Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon, played by Eric Bana and Ana Torrent, were the best performers on the screen. Ms Torrent was compelling even though the screenplay didn't make nearly as much use of her as it might have.
But this movie ought to have been a visual feast. Castle exteriors! castle interiors! Kentish countryside! ... we get no sense of any of it.
If you feel any temptation to watch this movie yourself, feel free. But watch A Man for All Seasons (1966), or Anne of the Thousand Days (1969) first, so you'll know what you're missing.
Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.