|Duration||1h 55m||Rating (UK)||12A|
|Source of story||A book of the same name by Philippa Greory|
|Starring||Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Jim Sturgess, Mark Rylance, Kristen Scott Thomas, David Morrissey, Benedict Cumberbatch, Anna Torrent, Eddie Redmayne, Andrew Garfield, Eric Bana|
Elevator Pitch: In order to promote the prospects of his family Sir Thomas Boleyn seizes the opportunity of putting his daughters before a visiting King Henry, and after the king has a minor accident while hunting, Mary nurses him back to health. As a result she becomes the king’s mistress, eventually giving birth to a boy. Anne the other daughter marries Henry Percy secretly which angers her father and the scheming Duke of Norfolk, so she is sent to France. But during Mary’s confinement Anne is recalled and becomes the object of the king’s desire. She becomes queen, but can she produce the required male offspring?
Content: There is sex, but it is delicately presented and even a rape is non-revelatory. There are meetings between Thomas Boleyn and the Duke of Norfolk where the daughters are strategically deployed, to the disgust of Sir Thomas’s wife. The king strides about in puffed up clothing. There are parties at court with dancing, Catherine of Aragon goes through her paces in a Shakespearian manner. The Boleyn daughters spend a lot of time looking winsomely into the middle distance – particularlyMary.
A View: This outing only got two stars on Rotten Tomatoes the main complaint being that it was a bit too soapy. It did have a major problem in that it could not help sliding towards the fate of Anne Boleyn and her eventual death, as Mary looked on mutely. As a result, having moved majestically onwards for an hour and a half, the fate of the sisters was compressed into the final act almost breathlessly. Some said that Natalie Portman was not quite up to the task of being the scheming Anne. Due to my familiarity with Wolf Hall, I kept wondering where Cromwell was. But it could be a watch for nothing while doing something else.
Additional Info: The actual story of Mary Boleyn is probably a lot more interesting than her portrayal here. She seems to have distributed her favours amongst the crowned heads of Europe, and it was that reputation which made her desirable to Henry.