By Carolyn Jenkins | 1 minute ago
Scarlett Johansson is currently most recognizable for her role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But the actor has been in the industry for decades with many memorable movies. Johansson’s career has contained blockbusters and independent films, but one film in particular had a stacked cast and famous story. The other Boleyn girl premiered in 2008 and featured Johansson as the main character. Now, over a decade later, the film is reappearing on Netflix. In Johansson’s long career, the movie might not come to mind immediately, but fans can watch the period piece on the streaming platform this month.
The other Boleyn girl depicts the well-told story of Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn. Anne has been the subject of numerous films and television series, but the full story is not always told. Scarlett Johansson‘s film not only covers Anne’s relationship with Henry VIII, but also her sister Mary. Natalie Portman stars as the most famous sister, Anne. After Henry VIII (Eric Bana) becomes unhappy with his first wife Catherine of Aragon, he begins to seek new avenues. Catherine gives him a daughter but Henry needs a son to take the throne one day.
Mary and Anne are depicted as being as different as day and night and both vying for the king’s attention. Henry is with both of them but eventually divorces Catherine and marries Anne. Anne is no more likely to bear him a son, but does give birth to one of the most beloved monarchs in English history, Queen Elizabeth. The film is based on Philippa Gregory’s bestselling book of the same name (via NPR). Although the story is based on fact, the adaptation is not necessarily historically accurate. Collider points out that the portrayal of Mary as “shy and naive” was off the mark.
Mary was actually the first sister to come to Henry’s attention due to her extensive affairs at the French court. She would go on to marry William Carey and after his death William Stafford. Regardless of the historical inaccuracies in Scarlett Johansson’s film, there’s no doubt that the film’s high budget and Hollywood royalty made it an impressive film. The other Boleyn girl is undoubtedly very glamorous, but it can also be fun.
Even so, many considered The other Boleyn girl be below expectations. Roger Ebert was particularly harsh on the film’s premiere, giving it only 2.5 stars. Instead of a sweeping historical narrative, Ebert accused the film of lacking depth and being more concerned with a catfight. Mary and Anne constantly fight over Henry, someone who has no true love for either of them and is only interested in an heir. Both are so competitive that there is no nuance. The other Boleyn girl has 43% on Rotten Tomatoes and a dismal 6.7 stars on IMDb.
But while the film failed critically, people continue to be fascinated by the subject matter. Scarlett Johansson’s character, Mary, is often not included in Anne Boleyn’s story. She appears fleetingly in the Showtime series The Tudors, appearing a little fairer because more aware of men’s desires. Anne Boleyn, of course, always gets traction. Natalie Dormer portrayed Anne on the Showtime series for 2 seasons until she lost her mind. Anne continues to perform massively and even has a new TV series. Jodie Turner-Smith appears as Anne in a limited series depicting the final months of the Queen’s life (via Indie Wire). Turner-Smith states that Anne is still a relevant character to this day. Her story is an important women-centered narrative about the indictment of patriarchal society.
Anne is not the only one to continue living after The other Boleyn girl. Natalie Portman has been to critical acclaim since then, winning an Oscar for her next film Black Swan (via Slash Movie). Scarlett Johansson went from blockbuster to blockbuster and struck gold in the MCU. First appearance as Black Widow in iron man 2, Johansson played Russian spy Natasha Romanoff until her last appearance in the Black Widow movie. Johansson has been open to Marvel appearances but is focused on her own projects. She has several upcoming projects such as city of asteroids and Married which is in pre-production.