A Royal Disappointment

Photo from about.com

When I first heard The Other Boleyn Girl was coming out as a movie, I quickly bought the book so that I could read it first. It’s long, but a fast read. After plowing through it, I launched on a whole Philippa Gregory kick, reading all the books in her Tudor series.

(Warning: spoilers follow) Despite beautiful costumes and some decent performances, the movie proved a huge let down. Instead of keeping to the story, it begins with a long segment of King Henry coming to visit the Boleyns’ country estate and meeting Anne. This event does not happen in the book at all, which starts right at court when Henry meets Anne for the first time (making the book actually more fast-paced than the movie!). It is Anne that Henry refers to when he uses the phrase “the other Boleyn girl” in the book. Mary has been at court (and married) when Anne joins them from French court. If Wikipedia is correct, this version is historically accurate.

Meanwhile, the movie cut out a lot of the story. It focused on Anne, not Mary (which kind of defeats the point). In the book, it is Mary that Henry notices first, stays with through the birth of 2 children, and whose life is the focus of the book. In the movie, her passionate affair with handsome Stafford is downplayed to a convenient marriage with a (rather goofy-looking) childhood servant. Not to mention, the movie completely excludes what happens to her first husband. Obviously, she couldn’t marry Stafford if she was already married!

With this inaccurate time-line and plot holes, I found the movie highly disappointing. However, I’m halfway through The Virgin’s Lover and planning to continue my Philippa Gregory obsession!

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