THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL (12A)

PUBLISHED: 13:49 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 15:41 11 May 2010

Eric Bana and Natalie Portman

Eric Bana and Natalie Portman

BASED on the best-selling novel by Philippa Gregory, The Other Boleyn Girl is an absorbing and sensual tale of intrigue, romance, and the betrayal of trust. Set against the backdrop of one of the most defining moments of English history, a time when two

BASED on the best-selling novel by Philippa Gregory, The Other Boleyn Girl is an absorbing and sensual tale of intrigue, romance, and the betrayal of trust.

Set against the backdrop of one of the most defining moments of English history, a time when two sisters Anne (Natalie Portman) and Mary (Scarlett Johansson) Boleyn, are driven by their ambitious father and uncle in the hope of enhancing their family's power and status by courting the affections of the king of England - Henry IV (Eric Bana).

Leaving behind their simple life in the country, the girls are soon thrust into the thrilling and dangerous world of court life - and what begins as a bid to help the family soon turns into a ruthless rivalry between the two sisters.

And it's a battle that Mary initially wins, becoming King Henry's mistress and mother of his illegitimate child.

But Anne, clever, conniving and head-strong, eventually edges aside both her sister and Henry's wife, Queen Katherine of Aragon, as her relentless pursuit of the king intensifies, stopping for nothing until she is the new Queen of England.

Disappointedly for the king, Anne gives birth to a daughter (Elizabeth), as his obsession for a male heir increases by the day. And in an attempt to give him the son he so desperately craves, she hatches a plan to give him what he wants by seducing another man.

But when found out she is ultimately cast aside, and tried for both treason and adultery. And the rest as they say... is history.

Englishman Justin Chadwick directs, for what is largely a likeable romantic cocktail, however, like many before it, The Other Boleyn Girl would have probably served better on the smaller screen.

And from a man whose directing credits include Spooks, The Bill and two episodes of Byker Grove it's hardly surprising.

Having said that, the leading man Eric Bana, is once again in sparkling form with his role as king the clear stand out of the film. Bana's undoubted talent often goes unrecognised, but it his performance that holds the film together.

The otherwise gifted Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson look great, and they do enjoy some genuine on-screen chemistry, however, both struggle to give credibility to their roles, including a splendidly inconsistent British accent.

Overall The Other Boleyn Girl is a decent picture, with its look and feel standing it apart from the abundance of stuffy period dramas.

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