For those that aren’t completely sick and tired of trashy melodramas centered on Queen Elizabeth (I and II), director Justin Chadwick takes a slightly different approach with The Other Boleyn Girl: a movie that focuses not on the infamous rulers, but rather the series of nefarious events leading up to the first Elizabeth’s birth. Though it could have just as easily been titled Elizabeth: The Prequel, Chadwick’s film is seriously lacking a protagonist even remotely as passionate or interesting. Instead, he pulls together a group of ignorant and traitorous characters that the audience simply can’t identify with, ultimately resulting in one of the most pointless movie experiences since last year’s hugely overrated Into the Wild.
Based on the novel by Philippa Gregory, the historically inaccurate tale follows the two Boleyn sisters — Mary (Scarlett Johansson) and Anne (Natalie Portman) — as they vie for the love of King Henry VIII (Eric Bana). After Henry’s current wife, Queen Katherine of Aragon (Ana Torrent), fails in delivering a male heir to the throne, he begins looking for a mistress to bear him a son. Desperate to earn the respect and gratitude of the king, Sir Thomas Boleyn (Mark Rylance) offers up his eldest daughter Anne as a potential candidate, but when Henry visits their estate and falls for the recently wedded Mary instead, she’s quickly whisked away to court to serve her country.