This period drama could be called Elizabeth: The Prequel for potential marathon showings with the Cate Blanchett films. It does, after all, deal with Elizabeth's mother and her rise and fall from grace, not to mention her role as a key figure in kick-starting the English Reformation with King Henry VIII. However, despite this being based on fact, I would not go so far as to view it as a history lesson. I am not so sure I would recommend viewing it for entertainment either. Despite a cast boasting Natalie Portman, Scarlet Johansson, and Eric Bana, I would be hard pressed to rave about the acting, or anything else.
The Other Boleyn Girl concerns itself with the sexual and personal politics used by families to gain stature, power, and wealth. It also shows what happens when one wields more power than they actually have and dig themselves in a hole of insurmountable depth. To top it off, the proceedings are handled in dry, melodramatic fashion that makes it look like a stage play with close-ups.
After sitting through the two-hour long film, I am left wondering just what I was supposed to take from it. Was it the corruption of power (perceived or otherwise)? Or perhaps the ties of family? Maybe it was just about the relationships and ways of a bygone era. Whatever the case may be, I left not really caring about any of it.
To be honest, the film is not bad on any technical level (of course, it did not excel either). It is shot well, has decent pacing, and generally looks good. The problem is in the execution; it fails to bring any sort of heart or energy to the screen. I found The Other Boleyn Girl to be lacking in the character department — I could not get up enough of a reason to care about the Boleyn girls or their fate.