Saturday, March 1

Spoiler Alert (apparently)

I saw the long awaited The Other Boleyn Girl this afternoon and I wish I hadn't.

I read, and really enjoyed, the book. I knew it took great liberties with the facts but it was a good time so I was willing to overlook the flaws. The movie takes even more liberties than the book and I'm not to willing to overlook it. To begin with, the script is atrocious. I understand the urge to explain history to the unwashed masses in plain/obvious language but, for God's sake, it's not THAT complicated. It was English History 101 at it's soap opera worst. It was so far from accurate it was barely recognizable. I just sat shaking my head thinking "These people think this is what happened". The film makers did manage to get the sets and costumes (mostly) right. At least they had the balls to dress everyone in period costume. It's a terribly unflattering style that most Directors are too chicken to stick to. The corsets are chest crushers and, I don't care how cute you think you are, nobody looks good in the dreaded gable hood of the time. Nevertheless, they chose to go for it and I thank them for that at least. I don't think there were quite that many foiled prints in Henry's time but the man did have a damn fine tailor and it's reflected in the film.

As if the script and terribly jumbled timeline weren't annoying enough there was the audience to contend with. Is it too much to ask that an audience watching a film called The Other Boleyn Girl might see a beheading and the birth of a fairly famous red headed Queen coming? Apparently it is because, I swear, there were gasps when the crowd realized Anne really was going to lose her head. (Oh, I'm sorry, am I giving too much away? Then get off my blog!!) They really seemed to think Anne would miraculously be spared at the last minute. I guess they had never heard of Henry VIII. Even more bizarre were the gasps and mutterings when, at the end of the film, a cute little red headed girl skipping through a field was reveled to be *gasp* the future Queen of England. Mercy! In perhaps the most ludicrous scene, Mary Boleyn barges into the castle, grabs baby Elizabeth and storms out of the castle. Yeah, I'm sure it was a snap to just walk into The Tower of London, right after the King has had your sister beheaded, and walk off with an heir to the throne. (I'm suddenly not feeling so sorry for those damn writers.) Oh, and some jackass in the audience applauded when Katherine of Aragon made a big uppity speech to the King in court. Yeah, 'cause that happened all the time. I think the clapper thought she was acting as some sort of feminist but I'm taking it upon myself to kick her out of the club for being so stupid. Let's be clear people, nobody lipped off to Henry. Woman are telling off men at every turn in this film and we know that that simply wasn't an option in that time... especially to the King of England.

Mom thinks I'm being a snob. I just can't imagine how you get through this life without knowing that a woman named Anne Boleyn gave birth to Queen Elizabeth and was later beheaded. I was under the impression that it was a fairly well documented part of English history.

I don't know why I'm always so surprised to learn how ignorant the average American is. I should know better by now. The primary reason I go to Laemmle theaters is because the demographic is so much more educated and civilized. I saw TOBG with the masses and that's just never good for me. I always walk out of mass theaters despising humanity. Ok, that's all very snobby, but you know it's true. I still cringe when I think of the time I saw The Pianist. One scene was particularly grisly but anyone with half a brain could see the horror coming from about a mile away. The Nazis were being really mean to some Jews (this too was apparently news to the audience) and when the inevitable horror played out, the woman behind me gasped. As if she expected the Nazis to suddenly have a heart and take the old man in the wheel chair out for a stroll in the park. It made the scene that much worse that not only those terrible things happened but that so many of us have already forgotten about them.

I guess I'll only allow myself to see foreign and independent films from now on. I usually wait until a mass film has been out for about a month before I bother seeing it. The hope is that in this way the crowds have thinned out. I'll have to stick to DVDs and cable for those films from now on. I guess I was too eager this time around. I had such high hopes for this movie. I should have known.


kb said...

Ugh, that is SO disappointing! I haven't seen it yet, but I probably still will. As you know, I love that era of British history, so it's really disappointing that they screwed it up. And the audience? That's how I felt when I went out with that dork and he had no clue who Anne Frank was. Lame!!

Linda said...

I was once asked if Marie Antoinette was married to Napoleon. Makes you wonder about what people are learning in schools these days. I'm glad to hear about the movie. I was going to go see it but I will wait until it shows up on TV and save myself some money.