The Other Boleyn Girl (2003) starring Natascha McElhone, Jodhi May, Jared Harris, Steven Mackintosh, Philip Glenister directed by Philippa Lowthorpe Movie Review

The Other Boleyn Girl (2003)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Natascha McElhone and Jodhi May in The Other Boleyn Girl (2003)

Another Boleyn Girl

Having found employment as a maid to Queen Katherine (Yolanda Vazquez), the recently married Mary Boleyn (Natascha McElhone) catches the attention of King Henry VIII (Jared Harris) who thanks to the meddling of her family becomes the King's mistress despite initially reluctant to do so. Whilst Mary ends up falling for the King her sister Anne (Jodhi May) ends up being sent away in disgrace after being caught in bed with a courtier. But Anne returns a more independent and determined young woman when Mary falls pregnant and sets her sights on the King, not just as another lover but as his wife even if that means forcing the King in to breaking away from traditions of the church.

I was surprised when I watched the 2008 movie "The Other Boleyn Girl" as this sort of costume drama is not my thing yet I was entertained by it. It is because of that I was less reluctant to watching the 2003 movie "The Other Boleyn Girl" because I was hopeful that whilst not a big budget movie the storyline would still entertain. It didn't and it is because of movies like this 2003 version of "The Other Boleyn Girl" that I have a general dislike of period costume dramas and it strongly reminded of the education videos we were shown in school of people acting out a historical event in a not always convincing manner.

So let me make this clear right from the word go, the biggest problem I have with this version of "The Other Boleyn Girl" is one of low budget style. I say low budget style as I don't know whether this was a low budget production or whether some of the styling was by choice but it really doesn't work for me. Quite often this looks like a production made by some amateur dramatics group who with home video cameras have gone to a National trust building and made it over a few weekends. The close ups, the pans, the unnatural, unrefined look as well as some jolting edits all distract as do the scenes of Anne and Mary both talking to the camera in some sort of strange Big Brother in the room type interview.

But the quality of the cast says that this version of "The Other Boleyn Girl" is not an amateur dramatics production yet they have that old fashioned costume drama delivery going on. By that I mean that it feels like people are just delivering their lines in a stiff manner never feeling like they are actually talking to each other.

What this all boils down to is that this earlier version of "The Other Boleyn Girl" is not for me and whilst some might enjoy its more focused look on the characters the styling and camera work as well as the delivery of the dialogue does nothing for me what so ever.