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Anna and the King (1999)

tomatometer

51

Average Rating: 5.8/10
Reviews Counted: 99
Fresh: 50 | Rotten: 49

Beautiful cinematography can't prevent Anna and the King from being boring and overly lengthy.

32

Average Rating: 5.2/10
Critic Reviews: 28
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 19

Beautiful cinematography can't prevent Anna and the King from being boring and overly lengthy.

audience

65

liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 74,863

My Rating

Movie Info

The true story of Anna Leonowens' experiences as a governess to the children of an eccentric Asian king has been adapted into a book of memoirs, a biography, a stage play called Anna and the King of Siam -- which was adapted into a 1946 film, a stage musical called The King and I -- made into both the live-action The King and I (1956)) and the animated The King and I (1999) feature films, and a short-lived 1972 TV series. Now the story is brought to the screen yet again, as Jodie Foster stars as

PG-13,

Drama, Romance, Classics

Steve Meerson, Peter Krikes

Oct 31, 2000

20th Century Fox - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (116) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (50) | Rotten (49) | DVD (17)

Foster, I believe, sees right through this material and out the other side, and doesn't believe in a bit of it.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: At the Movies
At the Movies
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The new movie offers old-fashioned kinds of pleasures.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Anna and the King is nothing but old-fashioned but it's old-fashioned in a glorious way.

January 1, 2000
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Holds its own against the beloved 1956 musical The King and I.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A richly satisfying mix of history, drama and romance.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Intense, mature version of The King and I.

December 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Handsome and well-appointed ... but still one of the most boring films in recent memory.

July 23, 2007 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

A grand retelling of an iconic story.

October 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

The third major screen version of the story, has much to recommend it.

July 2, 2004 Full Review Source: Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)

A deliberate retelling of 'The King and I' without the musical interludes. 'Anna and the King' is a slow, but ultimately rewarding period drama.

January 29, 2003
Cinema Sight

... the pacing of the film is slow enough to make the typical Merchant-Ivory production feel like a Nine Inch Nails video

January 23, 2003 Full Review
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Classic tale gets a beautiful -- and unnecessary -- retelling.

November 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Netflix
Netflix

Here is an old-fashioned costume drama with sumptuous sets, stirring music, and beguiling landscapes.

March 4, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Forget what you've heard - this is something special

April 1, 2001 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

Es la historia de un amor que rompe las barreras del tiempo y el espacio y que nos recuerda que lo más importante que puede tener una persona son sus emociones

March 14, 2001 Full Review Source: Moviola

visually beautiful, richly detailed, terribly long, and oddly unaffecting

February 27, 2001 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

A little too superficial and bloated to be completely effective.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Anna and the King's most interesting aspect is the portrayal of the ritualistic world of the King and his royal family.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Cinephiles
Cinephiles

It's big, expensive and soulless.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Film Blather
Film Blather

Beyond the potentially intriguing casting, the filmmakers have too obviously stretched the plot to justify a new interpretation.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Audience Reviews for Anna and the King

The plot wasn't focused enough, trying to fit in too many themes and coming up short and shallow on every one. Wonderful cinematography though, with beautiful locations.
September 28, 2011
Matthew Slaven

Super Reviewer

The king of Siam employs a British woman to teach his more than fifty children.
This is lush costume drama, full of all the pomp and circumstance and majestic panning shots that you would expect. Occasionally the cinematography actually reminded me of The English Patient which is no small compliment. And Jodie Foster is a premier actress, especially when it comes to playing vulnerability and her character's attempts at overcoming vulnerability. She has that pout and fearful but determined look in her eye on full display in many of her scenes.
However, I think the film is quite muddled and uneven. First, there is a great deal of talk about colonization. After all, one of the principal conflicts in the film is internal to the king's educative mission: how does he push for modernization when the definition of modernity is to be like his oppressors? How does he resolve the contradiction of tradition and modernity? These are compelling questions, both academically and cinematically. But they are not adequately explored. For example, Anna travels with two Indian servants, and their objections to colonization's evils are restricted to a single look they share during the first ten minutes of the film. What is more, the king has few scenes taking this conflict on head-on, and the one character who does is later villainized.
Second, the film is uneven because there are several dramatic, heart-tugging scenes that are immediately followed by sprawling shots of beautiful scenery or teaching sequences in which everybody is smiling and laughing as though nothing of consequence happened just five seconds ago.
Overall, despite Foster's classic performance -- the type that has made her famous -- there are still too many structural flaws to ignore.
August 19, 2011
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Such a beautiful story. Jodie Foster and Chow Yun-Fat play their roles perfectly. I loved it.
August 14, 2008
gatorgirl13

Super Reviewer

I knew the basic story from the Yul Brenner version of the King and I, but this is well done. The scene on the bridge is a bit of a stretch. But I liked the movie's humour and the lessons it teaches. The ending is appropriate as well.
August 18, 2007
Redlats

Super Reviewer

    1. King Mongkut: I never danced with an Englishwoman before, mem.
    2. Anna Leonowens: Nor I with a king.
    – Submitted by Sumit K (21 months ago)
View all quotes (1)

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Foreign Titles

  • Anna und der König (DE)
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