Lust and cruelty. Sep 13, 2010
This beautifully costumed drama encompasses Mary Boleyn's story as well as her sister, Anne's. Scarlett Johansson plays her demurely, although from historical accounts, she was thought to be of loose morals. It is Anne (Natalie Portman) who is portrayed as the schemer, driving King Henry VIII wild with desire by remaining just out of his reach.
The whole film is imaginatively photographed while being disconcertingly pristine clean, so that the Boleyn girls' hair shines with what would appear to be modern conditioners, their clothes never appearing muddy, and Eric Bana as Henry being very well turned out, with a trim beard and well-cut hair. This does take away some of the ambience of the times when hygiene would have been very loosely adhered to. But a small carp, when the film is entertaining and competently acted. A stand-out performance is by David Morrissey as the Duke of Norfolk. His strong interpretation of the part gives the film a firm frame on which the drama can unfold.