Movie REviews REviews by scripture reviews by alphabet
About the CRitic links

                        Fool’s Gold


“Fool’s Gold”:   An estranged young couple (Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson) in search of treasure from a sunken Spanish galleon have to battle loan sharks, claim jumpers, and their disappointments in each other.  Not a high-quality film, but at least it features a husband and wife working out their differences, rather than immediately discarding a troubled relationship for the new romance.


“Bonneville”:  A woman’s personal odyssey in the company of her best friends that could have worked but didn’t.  A recent widow (Jessica Lange)  takes her two best friends (Kathy Bates, and Joan Allen) on a road trip from Idaho to Santa Barbara, in order to deliver the ashes of her deceased husband to his (grown) daughter (Christine Baranski), who didn’t want her Daddy cremated in the first place, but that’s part of the tension. Supposed to be about love, life, laughter, tears, and friendship, but the inexperience of both writer and director makes the interaction clumsy and the dialogue awkward, despite the A-list cast.  Not funny, not sad, not exciting, just a waste a time.  If you’re looking for a tug on the emotional heartstrings, it will feel like fool’s gold.


“The Other Boleyn Girl”:  Of course there was no fool like Henry VIII, and no fool’s gold like desiring a male heir to the throne.  He never did sire (a legitimate) one, but his daughter by Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth , reigned powerfully for 45 years.  Of course, Anne Boleyn was only herself legitimate because she insisted that Henry would have to divorce his Catholic wife, Katherine of Aragon, in order to have her.   Just shunting Katherine off to a nunnery would not be enough, because then she would still be the Queen.  And so Henry does the unthinkable:  he divorces his Queen, permanently breaking relations with the Catholic Church, and thus establishing, by default, the Church of England.  Protestantism, here, could hardly be deemed a theological Reformation.  But, as we all know, that’s not the end of the story.  Anne Boleyn, wife #2, was herself summarily dispatched, and Henry continues to act the fool because he had the gold:  crown, that is.  The movie, and the book by Philippa Gregory upon which the movie is based, both take some historical liberties.  It starts and stops with the Boleyn family, not bothering to finish the story about Henry’s other wives.  But it makes for good (movie) theater for two of the most glamorous women currently in Hollywood to do this love/hate dance as sisters, jousting for the affection of the same man (in the Book of Genesis, see the twin sisters Rachel and Leah doing the same thing for Jacob’s affection).  Henry, portrayed by Eric Bana as a handsome philandering rogue, seems both obsessed and obsessive, completely ruled by his own desires, luxuries only a king can afford.  Scarlett Johansson plays the older sister Mary as a willing pawn, but Natalie Portman’s Anne is at first intrigued, then rebuffed, and then returns from exile with a vengeance, clever and witty and manipulative and self-controlled and keeping her eye on the prize (the Queen’s crown).  They are both lovely, but both tragically flawed, as are all those around them, including their duplicitous parents.  It would be a cheap tragic/comic soap opera in palace gowns if it weren’t substantially true.  As it is, well, fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a rough ride.  Lavish costumes, dramatic performances, beautiful people, and the stink of corruption wafting down the corridors of absolute power.


Questions for Discussion:

1)      Have you managed to help salvage a relationship that you once thought beyond repair?  What were the successful ingredients of the restoration?

2)      Have you ever taken a road trip with friends in the hopes of a great bonding experience, but things just didn’t turn out the way you planned?  What might have made the difference?

3)      Should divorce be “no-fault,” or should there have to be provable “grounds” for the divorce?


Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Greenville , Texas