I Am Henry – Film Review by Best-Selling Author Claire Ridgway
CLAIRE RIDGWAY is the author of the best-selling books ‘George Boleyn: Tudor Poet, Courtier and Diplomat’ (co-written with Clare Cherry), ‘On This Day in Tudor History’, ‘The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown’, ‘The Anne Boleyn Collection’ and the Anne Boleyn Collection II’, ‘Sweating Sickness In A Nutshell’ and ‘Tudor Places of Great Britain’. Claire was also involved in the English translation and editing of Edmond Bapst’s 19th century French biography of George Boleyn and Henry Howard, now available as ‘Two Gentlemen Poets at the Court of Henry VIII.’
Claire worked in education and freelance writing before creating The Anne Boleyn Files history website and becoming a full-time history researcher, blogger and author. The Anne Boleyn Files is known for its historical accuracy and has a big international following. Claire’s mission is to get to the truth behind Anne Boleyn’s story. Her writing is easy-to-read and conversational, and readers often comment on how reading Claire’s books is like having a coffee with her chatting about history.
Claire is also the founder of The Tudor Society
This review of I AM HENRY was first published on the Anne Boleyn Files website (12.01.2016).
“I was thrilled to be offered the chance to review the British short film ‘I Am Henry’ which has recently won six awards at the Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood (Winter 2016). I’d been desperate to see it since reviewing the trailer.
The setting for ‘I Am Henry’ is Syon Abbey. Henry VIII’s body is resting at the abbey overnight, surrounded by candles and guarded by a monk, while on its journey from Whitehall Palace to Windsor Castle for burial. At Syon, Henry’s spirit meets those of Anne Boleyn, Catherine of Aragon and Henry, Duke of Cornwall, his short-lived son by Catherine, who are keen to share their thoughts of him. Henry, of course, cannot help but confront them and put forward his own point of view.
The acting is superb
The setting is atmospheric, with the candlelight and shadows, and the acting is superb. I know that there were various comments on social media about the actress playing Catherine, and how she was dark-haired and dark-eyed rather than fair, but her acting more than made up for this small ‘niggle’. Her grief over her lost children was palpable. I loved the scene between Catherine, Henry and the adult spirit of Henry, Duke of Cornwall, who died when he was just fifty-two days old. I don’t want to give away too many details, but it was a very poignant scene with the young duke showing love and respect for his father and advising his father to take the love of his dead children and to find his peace. Beautiful.
Scenes were incredibly emotionally charged
Of course, the scenes between Henry and Anne Boleyn were incredibly emotionally charged. They had always had a volatile relationship and death was not going to get in the way of that! What I loved about the scenes between them was Anne’s reliance on her personal faith, and the strength of that, which was contrasted with Henry’s self-importance. Anne was concerned with salvation, Henry was concerned with the law and protecting himself and his country.
My favourite scene was Anne remembering her execution. Fleur Keith’s rendition of her execution speech was beautiful and the way that if flashed between Anne at her execution and the spirit of Henry was so powerful. Was Henry finally realising what he’d done? Was he repenting?
I truly loved the film
I truly loved the film. Little touches, like quotations from Henry VIII’s love letters to Anne Boleyn showed just how much research had been done to make this film ‘real’. One can imagine Henry’s spirit struggling with what he’d done in his life, but I felt that here he was being offered the chance of peace and salvation if only he’d submit to it and repent.
Powerful and poignant
I can’t quite believe that all that was packed into a film of just under 24 minutes. Such a lot was said and portrayed in just a few words. ‘I Am Henry’ more than deserves its awards, it was powerful and poignant.”
The Anne Boleyn Files recently interviewed Fleur Keith about her role in I AM HENRY. To read this interview please visit the website.