Friday, February 29, 2008

A brief rant on movie reviews

As we know, I like movies. So when a movie I've been anxious to see comes out, I gobble up the reviews so that I can either 1) prepare myself for a good time or 2) shout that the critics don't know what they're talking about.

Case in Point: The Other Boleyn Girl, one of my favorite novels, opens today in its film adaptation. Almost every review I read (except for the one in the Plain Dealer), questioned the historicity of the plot and then reduced the complex emotions of Gregory's characters to that of a "bodice-ripper" (that seems to be the phrase en vogue for describing this film).

Is it too much to ask that reviewers READ the novels the books are taken from? Really. I know a ton of movies come out every year that are based on books, so this might be difficult, next to impossible, or impossible. But in the case where the book is a huge hit (It's sold millions of copies), and is based on historical evidence (and Gregory provides a list of sources she used at the end of her book), then I think, in the interest of a good review, you need to at least glance at the book. If you had, then you would know that Anne and George's alleged sexual relationship is, in fact, not just a random plot twist. The homosexual ring around Anne as Queen is not invented for pique. This is Henry VIII we're talking about--truth is better than fiction.

From the reviews I've read, it does seem like the movie takes a few liberties with the book; namely, the girls' mother, Lady Rochester, is nice in the movie, whereas in the book she is just as interested in grabbing power as her husband and uncle. Mary, apparently, does not have a baby boy in the film, whereas in the book, and actuality, she had two children by Henry VIII, Catherine Knoylls and Henry, Lord Hudson, who became one of Queen Elizabeth I's (his cousin) advisors. The omission of Henry from the plot would weaken the hatred Mary feels for Anne later in the story, since Anne's "adoption" of Henry, without Mary's consent, becomes a key point in their relationship.

Oh, and note to reviewers--you're supposed to like Mary. It's not a failure of the plot to make her not as conniving as her sister. That's the whole POINT.

I'm seeing the movie tomorrow, so I can give a better impression then. But seriously, folks, if you're going to get on a movie for not being historical or messing with facts, or throwing ludicrous things in because they would make the story better, it would behoove you to read the book and the source material. Thank you.

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