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From the original book:

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Of the historical Anne Boleyn and her sister Mary.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Anne.
  • Values Dissonance: Some of the sexual metaphors and phrases spoken by the characters would seem demeaning and shocking if someone said them to people today. For instance, today you probably wouldn't tell your sister not to let her husband get her 'in pup.' Or refer to your sisters being in heat. Or tell someone that you got your wife 'in foal' just months after marriage.
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From the film:

  • Hate Sink:
    • Jane Parker is an unpleasant shrew who ends up getting George executed.
    • The Duke of Norfolk too! He was the reason Anne and Mary were entrapped into the scheme in the first place, but he also voted for her death! The slap he gets from his sister is well deserved!
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Eric Bana had already played Bruce Banner in Hulk before this film with Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman going on to play Black Widow and Jane Foster in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Iron Man 2 and Thor respectively.
    • For even more hilarity, along with Jane Foster and Black Widow being in this movie with a former Hulk, you also have Benedict Cumberbatch and Andrew Garfield in here as William Carey and Francis Weston before they were cast as Doctor Strange and Spider-Man, respective (although Garfield was Spider-Man in The Amazing Spider-Man Series, not the MCU).
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    • And also there is Mark Rylance playing the Boleyn sisters' father Thomas Boleyn here, and would later star as a different Thomas who assists Henry VIII in getting rid of Anne Boleyn.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Anne is a manipulative little schemer, and she screws over a lot of people to get what she wants. That being said, it's not hard to feel sorry for her as her entire life crashes around her.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Henry finally has enough of Anne being The Tease and decides to rape her. This is how Elizabeth is conceived.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • Anne's receiving of her guilty plea. She goes from looking imploringly at her uncle, to turning utterly paper white when he calmly agrees with the others and pronounces her guilty. It's especially heartbreaking when you remember he's responsible for getting her (and Mary and George) into the situation in the first place, all because of his ambition.
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    • Anne and George's executions. George is decapitated roughly with an axe in front of a jeering crowd, while Anne has a brief Hope Spot that is cruelly destroyed (the King had told Mary that he wouldn't do anything to hurt a part of her, after she said Anne was like her other half - but then he wrote Mary a letter telling her never to come back to court, and that Anne would receive no mercy). Anne does her best to remain dignified, but ends up breaking down into tears as she removes her necklace with shaking hands.
    • The fates of the Boleyn family: Sir Thomas Boleyn (Anne, Mary and George's father) died two years later in disgrace, The Duke of Norfolk was imprisoned and the next three generations of his family executed for treason (son, grandson and great-grandson), and Lady Boleyn died a year after her husband (and thus two years after Anne and George). Mary's ending is bittersweet, she lost her brother, her sister and her standing at court, but she got to live out the rest of her days with her children and husband, dying at the age of 44 (some ten years after Anne and George's execution).


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