Projections - Movie Reviews

Anna and the King

This new version of the story of the monarch and the governess has a lot to offer.   It combines a sweet romance, picturesque travelogue and even tosses in a couple of small battles for good measure.

Jodie Foster plays English widow, Anna Leonowens, who moves to Bangkok to teach King Mongkut's (Chow Yun-Fat - The Replacement Killers) many children.

Set in 19th century Siam (actually filmed in Malaysia), the clash between time-honored traditions are abundant.  The King is more considerate of English customs however Siamese history included slavery, caning and multiple wives, which the film touches on slightly.

Anna is all vim and vigor, ready to take on the King on any issue.  Thin lipped and harshly coiffed, Foster makes a very believable proper English woman.

He on the other hand, is willing to learn a lesson if it will make him a better ruler or father.  Yun- Fat is a total pleasure to watch.  He oozes charisma, in spite of his strange haircut and unbecoming costumes.

The two stars have a nice chemistry together.  The love the characters have is shown with a waltz they share or the touch of a cheek.  It's very discreet and private, and a welcome change.

I thoroughly enjoyed this epic and was fascinated by the beautiful foreign land and its people.

Anna and the King
A Top Ten pick for 1999

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