First Hit: Although speculative in its view of history, there was some very fine acting.
The film wants to give the audience a different and possibly interesting view of these true life sisters, their family and King Henry.
Scarlett Johansson plays Mary Boleyn, Natalie Portman plays Anne Boleyn, and Eric Bana plays Henry Tudor, the King.
This film is about a time where families dared to use and degrade their daughters to upgrade their social status and cash flow. Lady Elizabeth Boleyn, played wonderfully by Kristin Scott Thomas, attempts to protect and protest the fate of her daughters by her scheming brother and weak-willed husband. But unfortunately, in those days, what the man said seemed to be what ruled the roost.
The girls’ father offered up Anne to the King when he stopped by for a hunting party visit. Anne, the ever aggressive and petulant one, rode with the King during the hunt and ruined her chances of becoming the King’s girlfriend and love interest by out riding him.
However, the King also admired the younger sister Mary. The King’s interest in Mary brought the Boleyn family to his court and there the shenanigans begin.
The King sleeps with Mary, Mary bears a child, Anne returns to the court from being exiled to France, courts the King at the expense of her sister, has the King’s marriage to Katherine of Aragon annulled thereby separating England from the Roman Catholic Church, Anne turns out to be a pain in the ass to the King, Anne loses her baby, King exiles the whole family, and finally beheads Anne and her brother. The King eventually dies and his daughter Elizabeth, whose mother is Mary, ends up ruling the whole show.
Overall: The opportunity to watch two of today’s finest young women actors’ work together in a film is one that should not be missed. Both are good, however Natalie Portman really stands out.