Henry VIII Reviews
And with that, King Henry VIII of England died, leaving his country with a twelve year old king, his son with Jane Seymour, Edward. Before his death, he had changed the face of England with his creation of the Anglican Church in his attempt to disassociate himself with the Vatican when they didn?t give him the divorce he wanted.
The moment I saw this movie at the very bottom of the pile of DVDs for sale at my local video store, I was elated. I have loved the story of the Tudor monarchs since I was little, and to have a movie about them (and on sale, no less) seemed like a blessing. I only hoped that this Ray Winstone (back then, I had no inkling of who this actor was) would be able to portray a believable King Henry VIII.
The movie starts off with King Henry VII on his deathbed, handing over his throne to his son, Henry. Before he does, he asks his son what are the things he should do in order to be called a good king. Reinforce the treaties with Spain (in order to comply with this, Henry marries his brother?s widow, Princess Catherine of Aragon), raise the taxes of the nobles, and expand the territories of England were some of the plans Henry had, but his father added a premise which would consummate most of his life: father a son and ensure the progress of their family line.
Years later we see Henry, now King Henry VIII (Ray Winstone: Sexy Beast, King Arthur, Beowulf ), a notorious womanizer, receiving news that he has a son with another woman. His wife, Queen Catherine of Aragon (Assumpta Serna: The Craft ) has failed to give him the son he longs for ? most of the sons she bore him were stillbirths. During one of the blessing ceremonies where he has to consider the different couples who plan to marry, he meets Percy of Northumberland, the son of the richest man in the county, and his fiancée, Anne Boleyn (Helena Bonham Carter: Fight Club, Sweeney Todd, Merlin ), the daughter of a knight. Henry is instantly smitten by Anne, and the fact that her sister, Mary, carries his child means nothing to him. He instructs his prime minister to find a way wherein Percy and Anne wouldn?t marry, so that he could be free to pursue Anne himself.
The events that follow lead to the trial of the original Queen and the formation of the Anglican Church, the death of Anne Boleyn, and his marriages with four more women: Jane Seymour (Emilia Fox: Keeping Mum ), Anne of Cleves (a German princess who outlived all the other wives), Catherine Howard (Emily Blunt: The Devil Wears Prada, The Young Victoria ; Anne?s younger cousin who had an affair with a younger member of King Henry?s council), and Catherine Parr (she was originally betrothed to Thomas Seymour).
The entire movie was breath-taking, the costumes were lovely, and the actors fit into their roles perfectly. Winstone was the perfect image for the powerful, womanizer who ruthlessly dispensed his enemies and friends when he didn?t get what he wanted (which was usually a woman), Carter contributed her ethereal beauty to Anne Boleyn, and it was easy for us to see why King Henry VIII was enraptured by her. Even Sean Bean had a bit part in the movie, as the soldier who dared to defy the king openly in defense of the monks and nuns who were being attacked and their treasures ransacked in order to fill the treasuries of the king. I was surprised to learn that the Flixster movie base didn?t have a record of this movie, which was why I quickly submitted a record of this. This is a movie that clearly shows the events in the life of King Henry VIII, and with a roster of talented British actors, it delivers a knockout in terms of acting and how they carry the story along. All eyes turn to Winstone as the main driving force, and he steers clear of awkward moments; you can feel his longing for a son, his obvious love for Anne Boleyn and his grief at her death (although the irony is still there: if he loves her, why would he put her through a trial which would undoubtedly lead to her death sentence?), and his passion.
Not exactly a classic, but a movie one would surely enjoy.