The Rape of Anne Boleyn

March 4, 2008 at 6:21 pm | Posted in entertainment, Film, Henry VIII, Historical Fiction | 33 Comments
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Having had the better part of five days to think about the film adaptation of The Other Boleyn Girl and the time to read the reviews of other bloggers and movie critics, I feel that there needs to be some discussion about the rape scene.  The more I think about it, the more appalled I become.  I don’t believe it ever happened and portraying such an act is a disservice to those who had no previous knowledge of Tudor History.

In reality, Henry and Anne’s courtship was about 6 years old before they were married and it was only several months beforehand that they were sexually intimate. While I’m certain that there was something about Anne that fueled Henry’s fire, for her to have kept his interest for that long before the relationship was consummated, there had to be something else there for his desire, there was more to their relationship than just sexual attraction.  If his primary goal was to have her, he would not have waited a minute let alone five plus years.  Anne was an intelligent and astute woman.  She knew that the chase is what kept Henry interested.  Still, she knew exactly when the opposite was true.  Anne was many things, but she was not a victim.  She desired the throne of England and she worked and manipulated her way to just that spot.  What she did not take into account was the difficulty in keeping Henry without a male heir.  This was a difficulty she created for herself.  Had she not gone to the lengths to support the separation of England from the Roman Catholic Church she may never have been Queen of England, but she probably would have kept her head.  There is no way to be sure, but I can’t imagine her not being aware of that.  I think that Natalie Portman did an excellent job portraying how quickly Anne Boleyn went from having it all to constantly worrying about losing it all.

So why did the movie choose rape as the vehicle for the consummation of Henry and Anne’s relationship?  The only rational explanation I can come up with is that the film did not deal with the length of their courtship.  It wasn’t just washed over, either.  At the end of the movie when Mary‘s children were frolicking in the fields with Elizabeth, Elizabeth was very close in age to Henry Carey.  Since they eliminated the time and struggle involved with breaking with the Roman Catholic Church, they needed another device to explain Anne’s pregnancy at the time of their marriage and her coronation. This bothers me.  Henry was no saint, but he still deserves honest treatment.

24 Hour Countdown

February 28, 2008 at 3:58 pm | Posted in Film | 1 Comment
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24 hours from now I will be sitting in the theater watching the film adaptation of The Other Boleyn Girl. Despite my reservations, I’m starting to get excited. I’ve even talked a co-worker of mine into taking a half day off with me. Lunch at Red Robin followed by nearly two hours of Henry. Who could ask for anything more?

I will post my thoughts tomorrow evening as soon as possible.

The Other Boleyn Girl Virtual Book Club Contest

February 27, 2008 at 9:03 pm | Posted in Historical Fiction, Philippa Gregory | 10 Comments
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This contest appears to have been completed.  You can’t view the site any longer.  Thanks to everyone who participated!

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Sony Pictures has sponsored a fun contest surrounding the release of The Other Boleyn Girl. People create and join virtual book clubs. Each person who joins takes a quiz to earn points for their club. The virtual book clubs with the most points can win some fun TOBG or Philippa Gregory prizes. The organizer of the book club earning the most points wins a trip for two to London and will meet Philippa Gregory! I’ve started my own club. If you don’t start your own club, would you consider joining mine? All you have to do is click on this link and follow the instructions? I’d love to have you join me.

A Royal Disaster?

February 17, 2008 at 11:38 am | Posted in Books, Film, Henry VIII, Historical Fiction, Philippa Gregory | 4 Comments
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The Other Boleyn Girl was my introduction to modern historical fiction, Philippa Gregory, and my beloved Tudors.  When I heard the news that a film based on TOBG was in the works, I was thrilled.  It was a such a powerful read and I was hopeful that it would make a wonderful movie.

It didn’t take long for people to start crying foul.  Simon & Schuster released a mass market paperback version of the novel featuring the cast of the movie and people started arguing that Philippa Gregory was a sell out for allowing this to happen to her novel.  I don’t have any strong opinions about book covers.  I’m not sure how much control Gregory would have had over this publication as I would think that was part of the movie rights deal.  If I were an author, I don’t think I’d turn down movie rights just because of any associated mass market paperback.  Besides, it really is a great book.  If throwing Scarlett, Natalie, and boob-grabbing Eric on the front cover encourages others to read it, what difference does it make? The grumbling about the book cover didn’t affect my anticipation.  When the trailer was released, I got even more excited.

Recently, the first review of the movie has been posted on Rotten Tomatoes.  I’m not familiar with Emanuel Levy‘s movie criticism, but his review touched on the fears many have had since the movie was announced:

British TV helmer Justin Chadwick makes a disappointing feature debut in “The Other Boleyn Girl,” a hybrid of a trashy period melodrama and a stately Masterpiece Theater episode, resulting in a kitschy film that can’t decide how much to exploit its juicy text about King Henry VIII and the various women in his life.

…Indeed, due to its plot’s twists and turns, this costume meller might have benefited from a longer treatment, a mini-series, rather than a saga that rushes from one preposterous event and climax to another.

Still, there are plenty of movies that I loved that didn’t catch on with the critics.  While I’d prefer the movie to be a success with the critics, I’ll hold my judgment until after I’ve seen the movie.  It’s very possible that Mr. Levy and I will disagree with each other.

What is truly concerning me is the latest news from the red carpet.  On Fox News this morning I was greeted with the following sensational headline:

Portman, Johansson Share Steamy Red Carpet Kiss

Ladies and Gentlemen, has it ever been a good sign when stunts like this pop up while promoting a film?  Perhaps I’m jaded, but these types of kisses are not spontaneous when done in front of cameras.  It also doesn’t fly with me that this happened because Natalie is tired of being seen as boring.  My guess is that people are panicking.  If the movie is horrible, historical fiction fans will not be stampeding to the box office.  They’ll need to pull in the young male audience.  How better to do that than to have photos of Scarlett Johannson kissing another woman?

My heart is heavy, but I will still go and see the movie on Leap Day.  My hopes and expectations are now very low.  Maybe this will prevent me from feeling as disappointed when I leave the theater as I did after seeing Elizabeth: The Golden Age.  I didn’t write a follow up to that post because I was hoping that my utter disappointment was due to lack of sleep.  That won’t be the case with TOBG.  I’ll post my review as soon as I’ve seen it.

LiterateHousewife,

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your loyal historical fiction and film guinea pig…

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