Historical dramas aren't as popular as they were during the years when they were routinely clogging Oscar nomination lists and taking home awards, so it's a source of curiosity every time one comes out to see what concessions have been made to increase the story's popularity with today's multiplex-going audiences. The Other Boleyn Girl, based on the novel by Philippa Gregory, comes from BBC Films, which has a long and respected reputation for this sort of motion picture. The director is Justin Chadwick, whose previous credits include helming the critically acclaimed Bleak House for the BBC. So what's the compromise? For this very English tale, none of the three leads is English. To maximize appeal, the cast is highlighted by Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, and Eric Bana. Fortunately, though none of the trio is British, they are capable actors, so the story does not suffer. The result is an entertainingly sudsy trip through early 16th century English history.
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