Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Impressions of The Last Station, Bright Star, The other Boleyn Girl


I started these short reviews a few years ago on my LiveJournal. Sometimes you watch things which are older and many reviews have already been written and sometimes you watch things that just don't impress you enough to write a full review about it, but you still want to say something about them. So this is my solution!

The last station (2009)Adaptation of: the novel by Jay Parini
Length: 112 min

Summary: A portrayal of the last years in the life of the famous author Leo Tolstoy, seen through the eyes of his secretary, wherein Tolstoy tries to balance fame and wealth with his family and his wish to remain devoid of all material things.

Familiar faces (from period drama): Helen Mirren (Gosford Park, Elizabeth I), Christopher Plummer (Nicholas Nickleby), James McAvoy (Atonement, Becoming Jane, Lorna Doone), Anne-Marie Duff (Parade's End, The way we live now)

Watch this if:
- You like Helen Mirren. She's phenomenal in this movie, as always, actually!
- You're interested in the life of the man who wrote the famous novels Anna Karenina and War and Peace

Don't watch this if:
- You don't like stories set in Russia, because you think all things Russian are complicated and slightly depressing. Yeah, this movie sort of proves that....

Best part: Helen Mirren's passionate role as Sofya Tolstoy

My opinion: A good movie, but not one I very much liked I'm afraid. I'm just not big on Russian stories, with its strange customs and often bleak endings. But I must admit, the acting was top-notch, from everyone involved and it was very interesting to get a look at some themes playing in late 19th century Russian society as opposed to what I know of developments in the rest of Europe.

Bright Star (2009)

Adaptation of: no adaptation
Length: 119 min

Summary: The love story of the 19th century poet John Keats and his neighbour Fanny Brawne

Familiar faces (from period drama): Abbie Cornish (Elizabeth:The Golden Age), Ben Whishaw (The Hollow Crown), Claudie Blakley (Lark Rise to Candleford, Cranford, Pride and Prejudice)

Watch this if:
- You love movies with beautiful cinematography, this movie is a string of pretty pictures
- You love Regency fashion. Fanny Brawne designed all her own clothes and they are gorgeous!

Don't watch this if:
- You're not a fan of long-drawn out scenes and slow moving plotlines

Best part: The famous and gorgeous scene of Fanny walking through a field of purple flowers and reading a letter from Keats

My opinion: I feel like a barbarian,but I just could not enjoy this movie. Maybe I don't know enough about poetry (that's true) to appreciate the story, but I found the slow storytelling almost boring and the relationship between Fanny and Keats more akward than romantic. But really, that's just me...

The other Boleyn girl (2008)

Adaptation of: the novel by Philippa Gregory
Length: 115 min

Summary: The Boleyn family is ambitious to climb the ranks of Tudor society. Therefore daughter Anne is introduced to King Henry VIII, but he seems more drawn to her sister Mary.

Familiar faces: Scarlett Johansson (Girl with a pearl earring), Jim Sturgess (The way back), David Morrissey (Sense and Sensibility, Our mutual friend), Eddie Redmayne (Pillars of the Earth, Les Miserables), Benedict Cumberbatch (Parade's End, War Horse)

Watch this if:
- You're interested in Tudor history (or gorgeous Tudor costumes)
- You're curious to see some well known actors/actresses in a period drama for a change (Natalie Portman, Eric Bana, etc)

Don't watch this if:
- You're a sucker for historical accuracy
- You don't much like stories in which women are only used as pawns for family gain

Best part: The interaction between Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson as Anne and Mary Boleyn. They really play off each other well.

My opinion: Before I watched this movie, I knew the historical accuracy of the story was close to 0. Still, if you don't think of that too much and just watch the movie for what it is, The Other Boleyn Girl is an enjoyable historical romp, but that's about all there it too it.


  1. Despite it's soapy drama, I really liked 'Boleyn Girl.' Though I am not a scholar of the Tudor dynasty, I'd been warned it was inaccurate so I didn't let anything hold much weight in terms of the history. If I remember right, the cast was pretty good, so there is a plus - and of course, the costumes! So vividly gorgeous.

    Now you bring it up... I really need to watch the film again. :)

    1. It's kind of funny actually, if you look at the Wikipedia page of the book, you see all the deviations from history written there and if you go to the page of the movie, you see it even deviates from the book. So neither true to history or the book!

      But anyway, I thought it was a nice watch as well. The newest BBC period drama called The White Queen, is also based on a Philippa Gregory novel, so having watched 'Boleyn Girl', I sort of know what to expect of that!