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Anna and the King

Anna and the King was better than I was expecting… and my expectations were pretty low, since it seemed to have been trashed by the critics. It may not be on par with Jodie’s track-record of Oscar-caliber movies, but boy, the movie sure is purty, and it didn’t hurt me at all to watch it!
Our Rating

Genre(s): Drama, History

Director: Andy Tennant

Actors: Jodie Foster, Chow Yun-fat, Bai Ling, Tom Felton

Year: 1999

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Country: USA

I wasn’t ever bored (despite the grumblings of those who say that it is long and dull). Jodie Foster is fine as Anna, though I don’t think it will stand as one of her better roles. She does the prim-and-proper, yet headstrong woman quite well… not much of a stretch, really, considering her past roles. Her British accent tends to slip occasionally, and she never seems quite comfortable carrying it through the movie. She looks very conscious of her accent, as though part of the reason that her brow is constantly furrowed is that she is mentally reminding herself, “Remember the accent! Remember the accent!”

Chow Yun-Fat, however, is extremely charismatic and charming as the king. I’m ashamed to say that this is the first role I’ve seen him in (I’m sure my Hong Kong action-movie obsession is coming soon), and I’d sure like to see more of him! But here you have a Hong Kong actor saying all of his lines in Thai or English, which is admirable (considering it is quite well known that he wasn’t fluent at the time, in English at least). But in the famous “Shall we dance?” scene, both Chow’s and Foster’s accents are pretty much unintelligible, which is actually kind of funny. The audience rustled, “Um, what did they say? Oh… who cares… they’re dancing! Aaaahhh…”

Anna and the King was lush and lovely to see on a big screen, and was a perfect popcorn matinee for those who like to be swept off their feet by romance, epic, and even some action. As a rental, I’d recommend the bigger your TV screen, the better. Part of the reason I felt this movie worked for me was because it is all about spectacle, which would probably suffer a bit in your home living room.

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