This adaptation of the hit novel fails to create any real emotion nor evokes us to really care about our leads or anyone involved in this historical period piece.
Scarlet Johansen and Natalie Portman star as Mary and Anne Boleyn, respectively, starting off as pawns in their families bid to gain favor and power with King Henry the VIII (Eric Bana), with the lies, deceit, and intrigue leading to a struggle for power and love from the King.
The plot and script as a whole comes across as the lite version of the proceedings, with the story skimming over small details with little to no motivation for what is going on, leaving us wondering why we should care so much about the proceedings in the first place.
Anne was originally elected by her family to steal the king’s favor and serve as his potential mistress but it is Mary who steals his affection as she tends to him after injuring himself on a hunt while staying at the Boleyn manor. Anne, Mary, and family are all whisked off to court and slowly become more and more favored by the king especially after the pregnancy of Anne become known. Henry’s need for a male aire drives the proceedings of the film forward and is the focal point in which the plot revolves from here on out. I will not divulge more into story other then to say that it really fails to pack any sort of punch throughout the course of pretty much the entire film.
The acting in the film is just blah from everyone as well and these are some fine actors working here as well. Though, I will say that the weak script and dialogue definitely probably had something to do with this and the actors seem to have their hands tied with anything to really work with. Jim Sturgess actually probably does the best work out of the cast playing the brother George Boleyn who also ends up forced into situations he can’t handle by the conniving elders of the Boleyn family. The uncle of the Boleyn’s, and the Duke of Norfolk, is also played to great effect by David Morrissey as we love to hate him as he manipulates the family to his bidding. Outside these characters though, there isn’t anything to really write home about and that’s saying something when Eric Bana is in the cast, who I regard as one of the best actors around.
When it’s all said and done, this movie isn’t nearly as effective as it thinks it is, and even comes off as a bit pretentious. The script cripples almost everything in this film and the direction leaves a lot to be desired. The acting is nobodies best and the film as a whole is pretty much forgettable. The movie is at best a historical soap opera that doesn’t even really succeed at that very well. I can’t really recommend this unless you really wanted to see it, in which you should seek it out and judge for yourself because you might find something you like, even though all I found was a whole lot of blah.