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Where's the line?
March 2, 2008 - Amanda Alexander
This weekend I went to see the move, "The Other Boleyn Girl." This is based on the book that I reviewed in my last blog entry. While watching the movie, I couldn't help but notice that it was absolutely nothing like the book. The story was so completely different that I was amazed they were allowed to say it was "based on" the book and not "inspired by" it. When I see movies like this, I wonder why they even bother trying to base them on books. It seems that so often the producer wants to change it so that it's practically unrecognizable. Why does the audience need the plot of a book spoon-fed to them through a movie? Another example of this technique is seen in the movie "The Notebook," which has a completely different ending than that of the book. But the ending is the most important part of the story!
If you don't want to know the plot of the movie, then please read no further as there may be spoilers. The movie deviated from even the most basic outline of the book's plot. In the book, Mary Boleyn catch's the king's eye and her family basically pimps her out so they can receive his favor. In the movie, they decided to use Anne to get the king's attention, and after Anne causes the king to get hurt, they switch to Mary. The resentment Anne feels toward Mary in the movie is largely based on the fact that Mary "stole" the king from her, while in the book this was not the case.
Not only is the beginning of the story twisted, but the end is twisted as well. The most intriguing part of the book, the one that shows the desperation women faced during the Middle Ages, is the incest between Anne and her brother George. Anne is so desperate to have a son for the king that she sleeps with her own brother to get pregnant, and then she has a baby that is described as a grotesque monster. In the movie, however, they took the liberty of completely cutting this out. In the end, George tells Anne he can't sleep with her and she never has his baby. But they are charged with incest anyway, so the audience can sympathize with them for being wrongly accused.
There is also the fact that Mary's first child and Anne's several miscarriages are all cut out of the movie. There is also a rape scene in the movie that never occurred in the book.
Then there are the characters. While the Boleyn parents are portrayed as cold-hearted and stern in the novel, the parents in the movie were much different. The father was a pathetic, money-hungry man who followed his brother-in-law's orders simply because he didn't have much money or power on his own. The mother was much more likeable in the movie because she seemed to actually care about the well-being of her children and even fought for her daughters a few times. Anne and Mary's brother George was no longer a homosexual in the movie. Mary's husband mysteriously disappeared somewhere in the mix, and she somehow remarried in the end despite the fact that he never died as he did in the book.
It seemed that the movie's goal was to get the audience to sypathize with the Boleyn family; but that wasn't the point of the book at all. In the book, Anne is a very bad person; George is sexually confused and lives a very promiscuous lifestye; and Mary, even though she is the protagonist, still has her bad qualities. But the movie seemed to want to erase all the bad things everyone had done.
In the end, while the movie was entertaining and still had a few good points, it was such a deviation from the book that I found it extremely disappointing. I wouldn't recommend it for lovers of the book.
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