The Other Boleyn Girl

Rated 2.0

Before the ill-fated marriage of Anne Boleyn (Natalie Portman) and Henry VIII (Eric Bana), her younger sister Mary (Scarlett Johansson) catches the king’s eye—and fills his bed. In history—unlike in Philippa Gregory’s novel or Peter Morgan’s script­—Mary was the older sister, and that’s only the beginning of how writer Peter Morgan and director Justin Chadwick make a hash of things. The stars are miscast (technically the right ages, but all looking either too young or too old); they squirm uneasily in their Tudor farthingales and doublets and don’t age a bit during the 15 years covered by the movie (Henry especially changed radically). The script bristles with 21st-century terms that fit the characters as poorly as the costumes fit the actors, and the whole thing has the aura of a penny-dreadful bodice-ripper.