As an fan of history, I always enjoy a TV series or movie that attempts a portrayal of the past. Particularly, if it is a time period I like, a historical figure I find interesting, or just a great story (Rome, Braveheart, Troy, Alexander, Dr. Zhivago, etc.) In my mind, few things beat a good epic.
This fall brought a second film to complete the Elizabeth saga. It was wonderful. Cate Blanchette is Elizabeth I, at least to me. Elizabeth is not only a great character, she has a great story. Arguably the most powerful ruler of England, creator of the Church of England, and the last royal from the house of Tudor. Stepping back to her parentage reveals King Henry VIII and his many wives. Yet another great story.
This past Sunday I went to see, yet another, film that dealt with the Tudor family. The Other Boleyn Girl is a different portrayal on the life of Henry VIII and his love affair with Anne Boleyn (Elizabeth I’s mother). This time our Henry was Eric Banna. As Henry he was adequate…I much preferred him as Hector in Troy. Natalie Portman was Anne and her sister Mary (the “other” girl of the title) was played by Scarlett Johansson. The entire cast was sort of fine in a rather unremarkable way. Somewhat redeemingly, The Other Boleyn Girl is historically fascinating because it deals with lesser known (or recorded) details about the Boleyn’s life. Essentially it makes a story out of hearsay and theory.
But what if you had to choose? How do you view the Tudor’s?In my opinion the answer is quite simple. Watch Showtime’s series. The acting is better. It’s sexier. It is also ridiculously more in depth than The Other Boleyn Girl. The film glosses over Cardinal Woolsely and the Duke of Norfolk, two key players in Henry’s reign. So much of the story was lost in the film, it would be good if the movie was lost to your Netflix queue as well.The only area where the film outshines the series is in the portrayal of Queen Catherine (Henry’s first wife) and in the death of Anne Boleyn. Showtime teases us that “heads will roll” in the soon coming second season of The Tudors, in the film Natalie Portman is beheaded without all of the pomp and circumstance.