Apparently, the King Henry/Queen Elizabeth period in English history is all the rage in Hollywood these days. Cate Blanchett recently portrayed the British queen in two films and Showtime is currently airing its second season of The Tudors, a drama set during the reign of Henry VIII. It seems there's more than enough to go around; each project is quite appealing in its own way.
When the marriage of King Henry (Eric Bana, Munich) begins to crumble, the opportunistic uncle and father of Anne (Natalie Portman, Closer) and Mary Boleyn (Scarlett Johansson, The Prestige) use the girls to try and curry favor with the king. But when Henry takes a liking to both girls, it drives a wedge between the otherwise very close-knit sisters, and drastically alters the course of English history.
The tale of Henry VIII is, historically, very sordid and dramatic. Contrasting the Elizabeth films—Elizabeth being Henry's daughter—this film does not serve to glorify anyone, especially not the notoriously philandering king. And unlike The Tudors, which serializes the saga for TV, this film tells the story in hyper-speed, skipping months and years in the blink of an eye.
Apparently, this isn't the most historically accurate retelling of this period of events, but it's certainly an interesting one. With all the love and lust being thrown about, it's sort of like a period soap opera. The acting and script are both top-notch and like the rest of the contemporary pieces on these same characters, this one's worth a look.
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