Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Other Boleyn Girl Surprisingly Doesn't Suck

While the novel was apparently an over-researched Harlequin that evoked deepest hatred in my smartest friends, the film adaptation doesn't overreach; content to be an entertaining bodice ripper and studio-slick historical drama, it ends up delivering on all levels.

Stripped of the novel's lousy prose by screenwriter Peter Morgan, The Other Boleyn Girl emerges as a rich genre piece that looks good, entertains, thrills with its vicarious peeks into court life, and is surprisingly well-cast -- considering I originally didn't buy Natalie and Scarlett in those roles, I was surprised at how much I ended up liking them both. I enjoyed watching Natalie act like a total manipulative bitch for the first half of the film (and completely desperate during the second, when she realizes producing a male heir on demand is harder than she thought) and found myself growing increasingly fond of ScarJo's ingenuous sweetness. Ana Torrent was wonderful as Catherine of Aragon, all quiet, righteous anger, and Kristin Scott-Thomas delivers a fine performance as Mrs. Boleyn.

One thing I will admit to: when the dialogue got a bit too "costumey" for me (if you know what I mean by "costumey dialogue") I did resort to adding little voice-overs in my head to amuse myself. Also, in my head, the movie is called, "I Boned The King of England."

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