Did you find it pleasing?
So I just got back from seeing the film with Faith. We went to ooh-and-ah at the costumes and the ladyfolk. And believe me, the costuming was fantastic. I'll get to the ladyfolk later.
Now, it's been a long time since I've given any thought to the English monarchy or the history thereof. I did get into it a little bit after Elizabeth: The Golden Age, which is a truly enjoyable movie, but I digress. The point is, I didn't go into this movie at all prepared to even try and take in the amount of shit the nobility and ruling family used to pull.
I'm not going to cut this, because I think if you paid any attention to the racier parts of your high school world history class you already know how the movie ends. But I guess if you don't want spoilers, don't read past this point.
Now, for a brief recap... you may recall that Henry VIII, appropriately?, had eight "wives." Six married, two devoted mistresses. It's an easy mnemonic device. The first, and by far longest, marriage was to Katherine of Aragon and lasted 24 years until the Boleyn girls got the divorce/death ball rolling.
Evidently there's some contention about who was the elder sister. Movie says Anne, Wiki says Mary, I don't really care. Long (movie)story short, younger sister gets married first because pops thinks the elder, more ambitious sister can bag a big fish in the realm of nobles. Enter jealousy, stage left.
Now, the premise of the movie is that these sisters were sooooo close. We're talking couldn't pry them apart because they're practically adhered to one another with double-sided tape and epoxy close. That didn't really come across for me at all. We get a scene of the kids frolicking in the English countryside and then they're adults and Mary is getting married and Anne's kind of snarky about it.
At the reception, teh ev0l uncle (I swear, there really is one in every family. Even back in the 1500s.) shows up with this crack plan to get one of his kin to seduce the King of England since he's all upset that his wife can't give him a male heir to the throne. Pops offers up Anne, who thinks it's a bang-up idea.
King shows up, he's smitten, they go on a hunting date, he falls off his horse into a ravine. The modern day equivalent is the scene in Hitch when Will Smith kicks what's-her-face in the...well, face. Epic fail.
Freshly married Mary starts attending to the king's scratches [no lie, his one hand is a little bloodied and the rest of him seems completely undamaged] and his affections start to fall on her.
Soon, Henry calls her and hubby to court. Cue jealousy, again. Virtuous Mary and her hubby don't want to go, but obey 'cause hey. When the king says "come to court"...
On the very first night the king summons Mary and they consummate her mistresshood. I have to write it like that because it was just that boring. Seriously, I never thought I'd say this, but Scarlett Johansson looks like a lousy lay.
Anne goes a little crazygonuts, elopes, gets tattled on, gets exiled to France, learns how to control men, and comes back after her sister gets preggo with the king's child and Henry's eyes start wandering again. Anne arrests his attentions, refuses his affections for the sake of honesty, chastity, her sister, her own political ambitions blah blah... and there are some pretty sexy tension moments. Really, she's always just making a power-play for the throne.
After some scheming, some birthing, some divorce via separating from the Catholic church for a glorified booty call, shit goes down. Henry essentially rapes Anne, which makes for two strikes in the extremely unsatisfying sex scene category. Anne gives birth to a daughter (Elizabeth, see above), miscarries a son, and so begins the downward spiral until her beheading. It's all very dramatic and very well acted, but I'm not necessarily sure that I could care less.
I left the movie trying to figure out who I could blame for the whole mess. I mean, looking back it's easy to tell that Henry was a total douche, and more than a little off his rocker. Separating from the Catholic church in that day and age for the sake of some tail? Come on. Clearly it's his fault he killed Anne, and his obsession for a male heir (even though he friggen had one from Mary) got him into the whole sex octagon... but Anne's ambition got her in her own pickle. And yet, that wouldn't have even happened if teh ev0l uncle hadn't come into the picture with his plan that eventually got him and the following three generations of his family executed for treason. I'm pretty sure Anne would've been content to be a duchess.
The relationships in the film were about as shallow as a puddle. I didn't get any sort of sisterly vibe between Anne and Mary. Honestly, one of my favorite characters was Queen Katherine because she was graceful and Queenly. A few characters just disappeared, others kept coming back for almost no reason. It felt disjointed, like the movie didn't know what it was supposed to be or supposed to focus on.
I also found the transformation of Henry's character kind of jarring. He was so starkly different with Mary than he was with Anne and it seemed very abrupt. I don't think the movie conveyed the passing of time very well.
Also, one thing that really annoyed me with this film was all the angles! Can we not just have a shot with two people talking to each other? Do we need to go back from Anne, over to Mary, back to Anne, over to Mary? Yes, the lighting is gorgeous and it their skin is perfect but give it a rest!
Honestly, by the end of it the whole thing just seemed unnecessary. I still can't figure out why Mary didn't just go on in there and tell Henry that this whole plot was her uncle's doing and plz for to not be killing mah siblings kthx. And/or why Henry wasn't fit as a fiddle when Mary bore him the son he so desperately wanted. Probably because a) he was about as crazy as Caligula and b) it wouldn't make a good movie?
Whatever. I don't know. It doesn't really matter. Thank God for the Magna Carta.