Two sisters for a king

Two Sisters for a King ( The Other Boleyn Girl ) is a British – American film directed by Justin Chadwick , released in 2008 .

This chronicle traces the story of Mary and Anne Boleyn , two sisters of the court of King Henry VIII of England who maintain a fratricidal rivalry in order to dispute the favors of the king.

Chadwick’s film is an adaptation of the bestseller of the same name written by the British novelist Philippa Gregory .


At the xvi th century. The Duke of Norfolk , although already very fortunate, is constantly looking for a way to get rich. While the torque of the King of England , Henry VIII , is in trouble, he decided to send the eldest daughter of his sister, Anne Boleyn , as mistress of it.

It works, but after an error from Anne, the king returns wounded from his hunting party. Mary , Anne’s sister, newly married to William Carey, cares for the king who falls in love with her. She becomes the mistress, replacing her sister.

Anne then comes to marry secretly the man of which she is really in love, Henry Percy . Mary learns it, denounces it to their father. As the bridegroom was already betrothed, and their union is consummated, his uncle and his father, furious, send Anne to the court of France and cancel this marriage, shameful according to them. The war between the two sisters, already latent, really begins: Anne wants her sister to send her into “exile”. His mother persuades her to take advantage of it to learn more.

Shortly after, Mary is pregnant with the king, which gives the Boleyn family a certain social status with privileges. Mary, weakened, can no longer share the bed of the king and is left cloistered in her room until the end of her pregnancy. His uncle, annoyed, looking for a way to keep the favors of the king. Anne is chosen for this mission. We make her come back.

When Anne returns from France , changed, Mary worries about her situation. Charmed by this “new” Anne, the king gradually abandons Mary. The latter has a grudge against her sister, feeling betrayed and responsible for the indecision of the king, which she fell in love.

Anne refuses the king’s advances, claiming that Mary is pregnant with him. In truth she does not want to be a mere mistress of a king and seeks revenge on that sister who “stole” the king and sent her into exile.

Mary gives birth to a son, while the king promises Anne “his one and only love”, and to leave for her his wife and Mary. The hatred between the two sisters intensifies and Mary is forced to go back to the country, alone with her child.

The king seeks to remove his wife to meet the requirements of Anne who does not want to give himself to him as a whore (Mary covers her sister on the fact that she consummated her first marriage). The king, furious at seeing the people screaming against the injustice committed against their queen, and tired of continually encountering the obstinate refusal of the one he wishes, violates it. In order to annul her marriage and oust the queen, the king breaks with the Roman Catholic Church and marries Anne, who is then treated as a witch by the people.

Anne soon gives birth to a daughter, the future Elizabeth . She does not accept the king’s infidelities; their relationship is getting worse. Despite this, Anne is pregnant again. This future child is his only means of keeping the King’s favors. But when she has a miscarriage, everything seems lost. The king still believing her to be pregnant, she does not dare to confess the truth to her, let alone go back with him to give him another child.

Just before, on the side of Boleyn, a marriage between their younger brother, George , is organized with Jane Parker , whom he hates. Desperate and in the grip of panic, Anne simply asks her brother to give her a child. As she climbs to her room, Jane sees them. However, the two young people are unable to act, but the damage is already done. Informed of the situation by Jane Parker , the Duke of Norfolk acquainted the king, and accused the queen of high treason. George and Anne are immediately imprisoned. George is executed, while Anne is sentenced to death.

Returning from the countryside where she had hidden, Mary tries by all means to be reconciled with Anne before his execution. But, not wishing to see her die, she runs to see the king to beg him to spare his sister. He gives her his word. However, when Anne is brought to the scaffold, an executioner waits for her and decapitates him: Henri did not respect his word. He no longer wants to see Mary at the court, who goes away carrying Elizabeth with her , thus respecting the last wish of her deceased sister.

Overwhelmed and disgraced, Sir Thomas Boleyn died two years later. The Duke of Norfolk is imprisoned. Among his descendants, his son, grandson and great-grandson are executed for treason. The decision of Henry VIII of England to break with the Roman Catholic Church changes forever the religious context of England .

Mary marries William Stafford and lives happily with him, far from the court, for the rest of his life. The fear of Henry VIII of England to leave England without a worthy successor proves unfounded. He leaves an heiress who reigns over England for 45 years: the strong little red girl Anne gave him, Elizabeth . The Elizabethan era begins.

Technical sheet

  • Original title: The Other Boleyn Girl
  • French title: Deux Sœurs pour un Roi
  • Director: Justin Chadwick
  • Scenario: Peter Morgan , based on Philippa Gregory’s novel
  • Sets: John Paul Kelly and Sara Wan
  • Costumes: Sandy Powell
  • Photography: Kieran McGuigan
  • Editing: Paul Knight and Carol Littleton
  • Music: Paul Cantelon
  • Production: Scott Rudin and Alison Owen
  • Distribution Company: Columbia Pictures
  • Budget: 35 million of dollars
  • Country of Origin: United States , United Kingdom
  • Original language: American English and British
  • Format: color – 35 mm – 1.85: 1 – sound SDDS
  • Genre: historical , dramatic film
  • Duration: 115 minutes
  • Release dates:
    •  Germany : ( Berlin International Film Festival )
    •  United Kingdom : (preview in London ) , (national release)
    •  United States :
    •  France :
    •  Belgium :
    •  Switzerland :


  • Natalie Portman (VF: Celine Mauge , VQ: Aline Pinsonneault ) : Anne Boleyn
  • Scarlett Johansson (VF: Elsa Mollien ; VQ: Camille Cyr-Desmarais ) : Mary Boleyn
  • Eric Bana (VF: Jean-Yves Berteloot , VQ: Jean-François Beaupré ) : Henry VIII of England
  • Jim Sturgess (VF: Emmanuel Garijo , VQ: Philippe Martin ) : George Boleyn
  • Mark Rylance (VF Patrick Prejean , VQ Antoine Durand ) : Sir Thomas Boleyn
  • Kristin Scott Thomas (VF: Rafaèle Moutier , VQ: Anne Bédard ) : Lady Elizabeth Boleyn
  • David Morrissey (VF: Patrick Bethune , VQ: Daniel Picard ) : Thomas Howard , Duke of Norfolk
  • Benedict Cumberbatch : William Carrey
  • Oliver Coleman : Henry Percy
  • Ana Torrent (VF: Brigitte Virtudes , VQ: Élise Bertrand ) : Catherine of Aragon
  • Eddie Redmayne (VF: Adrien Antoine ; VQ: Nicolas Charbonneaux-Collombet ) : William Stafford
  • Andrew Garfield : Francis Weston
  • Juno Temple (VQ: Julie Burroughs) : Jane Parker
  • Bill Wallis : Archbishop of Canterbury

Around the film

The film portrays the Tudor court with a lot of conspiracy, ambition and disgrace. He moves away from the novel, which was already moving away from the historical facts.

Differences with the historical reality

Mary Boleyn probably does not have the importance that the film attributes to her. Indeed, she was sent to France from an early age with her father, ambassador in the name of Henry VII at the court of King Louis XII of France . His two daughters are trained there. Long before that, Anne and Mary stay for the diplomatic missions of their father in Flanders where they meet Marguerite of Austria . The diplomatic missions of Thomas Boleyn continue the reign of the new king, Francis I st . Mary is, perhaps, one of his many conquests of a night. It is during a trip to France thatHenry VIII of England meets Mary Boleyn . She is his mistress but he quickly gets tired of her. As a result, she retired from the court, giving way to her brilliant and ambitious sister, Anne.

Contrary to what the film shows, Mary Boleyn and Henry VIII never had children. There was a lot of speculation about the paternity of Mary’s children but there is nothing to confirm that one of them is really a child of the king. The King could very well have recognized them had they been his children, since he had already recognized an illegitimate child, Henry FitzRoy , son of one of his mistresses, Elizabeth Blount . The only child belonging to both Boleyn House and Tudor House is Elizabeth , daughter of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII (Tudor House).

The film shows that after the death of Queen Anne Boleyn , Mary returns to the palace, takes Princess Elizabeth, declared bastard, and takes her with her to the countryside where she now takes care of his education. In fact, there is no indication that Mary had any influence on Elizabeth’s fate after her mother’s death. At the time of her sister’s execution, Mary is supposedly married to commoner William Stafford and has no relation to the English court.

There is the virtual absence of Cardinal Wolsey , an enemy of the Boleyn, the chief minister of Henry VIII of England from the beginning of his reign to his disgrace in 1529 , caused by the Boleyns. The struggles between these two factions explain the slow rise of the Boleyn family. Only one scene is granted. Another major oversight: Thomas Cromwell , Chaplain of the Boleyn, Lutheran convinced, Chancellor of Henry VIII from 1534 to 1540 appears once in the film, at the end (he is responsible for citing the charges against him). ‘ Anne Boleyn ). It nevertheless has a crucial role in the spread ofReform in England and especially in the fall of Wolsey and Boleyn.

Thomas Boleyn , the father of the two sisters, is portrayed as a weak man, driven by his brother-in-law, the Duke of Norfolk , while it is commonly admitted that he was a clever and particularly ambitious man.

Finally, the film suggests the possibility of incest between Anne and her brother Georges (who can not finally consume it). This hypothesis, largely fueled by pro-Henry’s propaganda, has long persisted. Although doubts remain, it is however neither discredited nor confirmed to date (in the novel, incest is consumed, at least that is what Mary deduces).

Historical Consequences of the Boleyn

Anne Boleyn is beheaded. This brutal disgrace can have two reasons:

  • By repudiating Catherine of Aragon , his first wife, Henry VIII of England puts back Spain and the Empire . Charles V , Catherine’s nephew, does not recognize Anne Boleyn . In a changing political context, an alliance with Spainis necessary. It is necessary to get rid of this queen who incarnates at the same time the alliance with France (her education more French than English, the king of France has always supported it) and the outrage done to Spain by repudiating the queen legitimate.
  • Seeing that his wife does not give him a male heir, it is essential for Henry VIII of England to find a woman who can give him a son who extends the dynasty (the memory of the war of the Two Roses between York and Lancaster is still in the memories). His new affair with the severe Jeanne Seymour may also explain the reason for the rapid disgrace of Anne Boleyn .

Ironically, Jane Parker , whose testimony against her husband and her sister helped their judgment and execution, will help the th wife of Henry VIII , Catherine Howard , cousin of Anne Boleyn , and niece of the Duke of Norfolk , to commit adultery with a gentleman in the service of the king, Thomas Culpeper . Both women are executed in 1542 for high treason.

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