Time: 147 mins.
Academy Award nominations for Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction.
I originally wanted to see this film in the theater mainly because I love historical pictures and will see anything with Jodie Foster in it. She's a brilliant actress who almost always picks interesting roles in very good films. Her role in ANNA AND THE KING continues her streak. Not only is this a beautifully shot story, it's an intriguing one full of romance, politics, sacrifice and courage. She could do no better in the co-star department, squaring off against the mesmerizing Chow Yun-Fat. I don't see many foreign films because I hate to read while watching a movie, but I will definitely go out of my way to see more of Chow Yun-Fat's work. There's no need for Foster to make you believe her character's in love with the king, because you'll fall easily under his spell as well. Yun-Fat's performance is powerful, loving, romantic, humorous and intelligent. He plays the perfect man and the perfect king. I would dare any woman to resist him...even one as hard-hearted as Anna.
The film opens with the arrival of Anna Leonowens, a British widow who has come to Siam to teach the King's children the ways of the West. She initially looks down on the country and its inhabitants believing them to be barbaric and uneducated. What she finds is a fascinating world of culture and refinement. Her abrupt and demanding personality annoys the king at first, but he is soon entranced by her intelligence and honesty. He knows the world is changing and that he must change as well in order for his kingdom to survive without foreign intervention. Even though she was brought there merely to teach, Anna soon finds herself enraptured with the people and their plights. Her ideas and constant intervention in local affairs causes much consternation for the King, but he finds himself unable to be angry at her for long. Mainly, because she's usually right and he's never encountered anyone, especially a woman, like her before.