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Critics Review
Anne Boleyn review: Breaking stereotypes, one step at a time

Anne Boleyn is nearly perfect in all aspects - it has a great storyline, almost as good an execution and some flawless actors - but it isn't gripping enough.

Jul 09, 2021
cover image
A still from Anne Boleyn.

What's it about:

King Henry VIII's second wife, queen of England and Elizabeth's mother Anne Boleyn was a powerful influence back in 1500s. Her story, often ignored, is narrated in Sony Liv's latest venture.

What's hot:

Before diving deep into the story of Anne Boleyn, I wanted to know more about her. The first thought that crossed my mind when I did? The queen (at least when King Henry was still ruling) was almost always white. Still, we have the beautiful Jodie Turner-Smith, a black woman, playing the role to near-perfection. Racist? No. Factually incorrect. Highly likely. The much-debated stance did not matter to me once I began watching the series, Anne Boleyn.

The show is a smart approach to getting people off the thought of a black woman playing the lead. It is set up in a way that it will show you how people are judged on the basis of class, which would disgust you and at the same time, show you a mirror for judging Jodie, who does nothing but take the plot to a whole new level with her wit and elegance.

It breaks stereotypes, one step at a time. While you are still adjusting to Jodie as Anne, you start feeling for her character by the second episode and by the third, you are absolutely disgusted at how things around her are and love how she handles every situation with maturity and grace.

Honestly, it appears that the writers wanted to experiment with the show and they succeeded to a great extent, mainly with Jodie. The minute Anne stares into emptiness, you know just how affected she is. Despite everything, she puts on a strong front and handles situations like a queen should. It is thus no wonder that Anne was the face of British reformation.

Shunned and betrayed by her own husband, while she was pregnant with their child, Anne is a lonely yet independent woman who is often ignored in history, despite having all the potential to take over the king himself. She was accused of treason and incest. The same is explained in depth during one of the scenes in the final episode. The scene guts you and makes you hate the reality of court sessions.

What's not:

Anne Boleyn is nearly perfect in all aspects - it has a great storyline, almost as good an execution and some flawless actors. However, the show lacks the aspect of being gripping. At no point are you chewing your nails as to what would happen to Anne next?

Much like most of the royal tales, there isn't anything surprising in Anne Boleyn at all. Nonetheless, watching a former queen and an influential figure at that, is something nobody should miss out on.


Watch Anne Boleyn with an open mind. It might take time adjusting but once you are invested, the series is nothing but rewarding. It is another testament to the fact that history could teach us a lot and help better the present and future.

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