The Thinning of Henry VIII

DATELINE: MOVIE MASHUP!

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Eric Bana, Better Looking than Six Wives in a Plot

We have seen King Henry lose weight like Jenny Craig was among his six wives.

The Other Boleyn Girl proves to be an opulent tragic romance, penned by that brilliant master of historical and royal people, Peter Morgan who gave us Frost/Nixon, The Queen, and others.

This early effort put his talents upon the old chestnut of Anne Boleyn and her ill-fated marriage to a king who made ‘off with her head’ one of his calling cards.

Henry has been losing weight in recent years and becoming more of a media darling—jacked and athletic, looking less like Prince Fielder than his portraits suggest. He has gone from the piggy style of Charles Laughton to the debonair Jonathan Rhys Meyers, nearly a waif, and now through Eric Bana, Henry is a king in and out of bed. His adultery comes across as fun only a king could have in those days.

The camera lingers on his abs during one heady bedtime with Anne’s sister Mary. Yes, Henry kept it in the family. Mary won his heart and kept her head. As a sidelight she marries William Carey, played by Benedict Cumberbatch in another curio role. 

Even as the quisling, weakling husband of Mary Boleyn, he manages to make a mark in a limited role.

Tracking familiar territory, the tale of the intrigue in Henry’s court finds another offshoot to make it watchable with Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johanssen as the Boleyn sisters.

We also enjoyed Kristin Scott Thomas as their mother whose common sense was simply ignored as the temper of the times demanded.

You’d almost think this was a BBC/PBS special cable movie, but you’d be wrong. This movie is strictly the big time, big budget, and big pomp.