Monday, April 20, 2015

Brief Review of "Wolf Hall."

Personally, I have not read either of the books the series is based on, but I will say the acting is very good, as are the costumes, and really, the casting.  But, I take issue with certain points in how the historical characters are presented.  Again, this is, to be fair, a dramatization based on fiction, but last night's episode had Thomas Cromwell groping Anne Boleyn, and Anne being receptive, and later, he openly flirts with Jane Seymour, who is very solicitous of Anne, and Jane is carrying a torch for Cromwell.  Not realistic.  He would have been taking a terrible risk doing either, and his ignonimous but well deserved end notwithstanding, Cromwell was at the height of his power with Henry, and no real love was lost between him and Anne-ever.  I think these scenes were cheap shots, and someone didn't think them out very well.

On the other hand, it's a better production than The Tudors, and all the women don't meld together and look alike as they did in TT.

It is interesting to see how Anne is portrayed; we somehow always have to blame the victim and find a reason for her suffering, hopefully that she somehow caused it herself.  Neither she, nor Erzebet, are seen historically as victims of circumstance and ambition, but as someone who has studied both for several decades, I have to say that is the fairer portrait.  Thoughts?

Below, from

A historical drama for a modern audience, Wolf Hall tells the story of Thomas Cromwell, played by Mark Rylance (Twelfth Night)—a blacksmith’s son who rises from the ashes of personal disaster, and deftly picks his way through a court where ‘man is wolf to man.’ Damian Lewis (Homeland) is King Henry VIII, haunted by his brother’s premature death and obsessed with protecting the Tudor dynasty by securing his succession with a male heir to the throne. The cast also includes Claire Foy (Little Dorrit) as the future queen Anne Boleyn.
Told from Cromwell’s perspective, Wolf Hall follows the complex machinations and back room dealings of this accomplished power broker who must serve king and country while dealing with deadly political intrigue, Henry VIII’s tempestuous relationship with Anne Boleyn, and the religious upheavals of the Protestant reformation.
The miniseries is adapted from Hilary Mantel’s best-selling Booker Prize-winning novels: Wolf Hall and its sequel, Bring Up the Bodies.
MASTERPIECE brings both of these works to life in Wolf Hall, airing in 6 riveting episodes on Sundays, April 5-May 10, 2015 at the special time of 10/9c on PBS.

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