Friday, November 28, 2008

Soap opera dressed as historical drama
With Scarlett Johansson’s considerable charms. Before this I’ve only seen her in two relatively obscure but very good films, Ghost World based on the cult comic book and An American Rhapsody intelligently contrasting Hungary and America in the 1950s and 1960s, in which she played small parts. This plays loose with the facts but it seems you can blame the greed of the Boleyns and Howards (the Bs’ in-laws) for the ‘Reformation’ in England thanks to their pimping out at least one of their daughters to the king (which probably was a real temptation for the women as young Harry was as good-looking as the actor in this; the famous Holbein ‘fat’ painting is from when he was older).

Jim Sturgess from that train-wreck Beatles musical Across the Universe is in this too as the Boleyn girls’ brother whom Anne was accused of incest with.

That would be most good, Newland. Most. Good.
The problem of casting North American actors in these British productions unless they’re talented mimics. (I know people in the 1500s didn’t sound like BBC newsreaders but anyway.) Even if I didn’t know and even though they do pretty well, within the first five words I could tell Johansson and Portman are putting it on (like Renée Zellweger in Bridget Jones and the Israeli-born Portman again in the libertarianish V for Vendetta); ISTM the biggest giveaway that the dialect coaches can’t fix is that intervocalic r (similar but not exactly the same sound in many English accents as in North America, and next to nobody under 60 pronounces it as a flap as in ‘veddy’ for very) stays the same.

BTW the joke of the title is from a ‘Family Guy’ cutaway scene making fun of the lovely, unmistakeably North American Winona Ryder in The Age of Innocence (which I’ve not seen) that has her delivering that line in her normal accent but stiffly and in an obnoxious tone. (I couldn’t find a YouTube of it.)

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