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Anne Boleyn review: A brave attempt at retelling the story of Anne Boleyn and the Tudor era

The latest adaptation of Anne Boleyn’s tragic tale, made popular by Philippa Gregory’s novel The Other Boleyn Girl, has taken several liberties in historical accuracy with respect to the plot and characters.

Ryan Gomez
Jul 19, 2021
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What’s it about:

The mini-series is about the politics involved in leading up to the execution of Queen Anne Boleyn in 16th century England at the behest of her husband King Henry VIII. The story is told from Anne Boleyn’s perspective as she navigates through the politics in her marriage with the King and the politics of the court, whilst trying to have an heir for the King to follow the line of succession.

What’s hot:

The performances by the cast are outstanding, Jodie Turner-Smith as the titular character adds depth and intrigue to one of British history’s most recognisable names from the Tudor era. The costume design and set design are perfectly crafted to bring authenticity to the historical drama. The writing and screenplay add rich symbolisms to the narrative which discusses several socio-political themes relevant to the modern era as well.

The visuals and cinematography are also brilliantly rendered to capture the story of the Queen, whose execution heralded a new era for English politics called the English Reformation. It led to the Church of England separating from the Catholic Church under the Pope and the formation of Protestant Reformation which spread to Europe and later to the rest of the world by the 20th century.

What’s not:

The choice of casting black actors for the lead characters in a 16th century English period drama is historically inaccurate. Casting actors of colour in a historical drama about Caucasians gives the impression that people of colour are shoehorned into someone else’s history, inadvertently implying that the ethnically diverse people do not have their history to tell. Ethnicities across the globe have their own fascinating stories that have not been told as often, unlike Anne Boleyn’s story which has been rinsed and repeated countless times. If the story did indeed want to be inclusive it could have been reimagined in a modern setting similar to how BBC reimagined Sherlock Holmes in modern-day London.


Despite its shortcomings, the performances by the cast and the overall production value of the show have undeniable quality.

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