The Lady (2012)
Movie InfoThe Lady is the extraordinary story of Aung San Suu Kyi and her husband, Michael Aris. It is also the epic story of the peaceful quest of the woman who is at the core of Burma's democracy movement. Despite distance, long separations, and a dangerously hostile regime, their love endures until the very end. A story of devotion and human understanding set against a backdrop of political turmoil that continues today. The Lady was written over a period of three years by Rebecca Frayn. Interviews with key figures in Aung San Suu Kyi's entourage enabled her to reconstruct for the first time the true story of Burma's national heroine. -- (C) Cohen Media Group … More
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Critic Reviews for The Lady
The Lady is a slog, a two-and-a-half hour, painted-on-wood exercise in political iconography.
"The Lady" is a two-hour trip into earnestness, from which audiences will want a little liberation of their own.
The Lady is little more than a history lesson - although a beautifully presented one - wrapped in the pink gloss of a G-rated potboiler evidenced in Suu Kyi's and Michael's storybook romance.
A heavy-handed attempt to sanctify one of the most dignified and uncompromising politicians and human rights champions of recent times.
[It] does indeed deal with a real life, but follows so faithfully the traditional shape of film biography that it feels less convincing.
This hagiography of Myanmar's Nobel Peace Prize-winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, is earnest, civilized and borderline unendurable.
The dramatic moments are few and far between, and the film seems like it walks in the footsteps of Richard Attenborough's Gandhi at times. Besson definitely tries to present Suu Kyi in a similarly reverent light.
The villains are caricatures, the emotions melodramatic, the politics black-and-white - yet French director Luc Besson moves the saga briskly, and does not back away from the violence.
Besson hits familiar biopic beats, but the formula could have used something a little more daring to liven things up.
A stately, high-minded historical docudrama that's long--very long--on hagiography but extremely short on energy.
The Lady doesn't do justice to the amazing life and democratic crusade of Aung San Suu Kyi despite excellent performances by David Thewlis and Michelle Yeoh.
Well-meaning biopic will barely satisfy people's curiosity about a little-seen woman. Played up as more tragic personal sacrifice than politics, she remains a noble symbol.
As far as biopics stand Besson has spared no expense in creating as authentic and presentable a movie as he could with The Lady. Yet he has failed to tap into that sense of outrage, sadness and hope that a story like this should conjure.
Ambitious and slightly lengthy, the film presents a sequence of events that, though in hindsight a bit of a muddle, leaves an unforgettable impression of a fascinating couple.
It's not without faults, but as a piece of illuminating and occasionally - dare I say it - inspirational entertainment, The Lady has my vote.
Stolidly maudlin, this enervating sub-middlebrow pic is doomed to well-deserved commercial obscurity.
Recommended for anyone interested in how a lone woman can alter history with a strict code of anti- violence - as did moral giants such as Mahatma Gandhi, Dr Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela among others. It's inspirational and reassuring
Audience Reviews for The Lady
Really good biodrama. Before viewing this film, I had little understanding of her background, and even less understanding of the history of Burma over the past fifty years. Really well done. Not the fastest pace ever, but still a very interesting story about a remarkable lady...More
Luc Besson is a great director but this film lacks the passion it deserves. I'm afraid he has done Aung San Suu Kyi a great injustice by making a half-hearted biopic of her life. Unless of coarse it was his intention of making a film about the life of her husband, then he did a pretty good job as David Thewlis's Michael Aris took up most of the film - the camera often hanging on him for embarrassing lengths of time for a credible director. For all the great moments in this film, and there are a few, there are three times as many pointless, ill-conceived and ridiculous ones. I love David Thewlis but Besson does not get his potential out of him, the two actors playing their sons can act for candy and poor Michelle Yeoh isn't given the chance to play, what could have been, the performance of her life. For what little screen time she is given, she does a great job but what Aung San Suu Kyi did for Burma is barely hinted at in this mess of a film.More
Besson proves he is not the proper director for a subject like this, turning a real story into a conventional, underwhelming movie and stretching it forever. Still, Michelle Yeoh does her best to confer an aura of elegance and honor to a character that utters cheap soundbites every time to justify her poorly developed actions.More
On the one hand, "The Lady" is a heartfelt biopic about Burmese democracy activist and Nobel Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi(Michelle Yeoh). As such, the movie is framed by three deaths:
It is 1947, and her father, Aung San(Phoe Zaw), one of the founding fathers of Burma, is gunned down in cold blood by army soldiers.
It is 1998 and her husband, Michael Aris(David Thewlis), an Oxford professor, has just been diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer. He now has between five months and five years to live which as pointed out, should be enough time to settle his affairs. Except that she is stuck in Burma and if she leaves, she will not be able to return.
It is 1988 and her mother(Marian Yu) has just had a serious stroke in Burma. That causes Aung San Suu Kyi to return to her native country from England, with her family not far behind her, just as democracy protests are kicking into high gear.
On the other hand, while I respect the well-intentioned thoughts of "The Lady," crafting it as a romance and giving equal time to her husband do it little favor, making Aung San Suu Kyi almost a supporting player in her own story.(Therefore, David Thewlis' excellent performance ironically hurts the movie more than it helps.) Not to paraphrase "Man of Steel" anymore than I absolutely have to, but the far reaching and lasting peaceful movement for democracy in Burma is larger than all of these people. For the record, I don't mean to take anything away from the personal struggles of the dedicated Aung San Suu Kyi when I say that. But if one wanted to really give a sense of her isolation under house arrest, then a one woman show would have definitely been the way to go, assuming one cast the right actress.
The Lady Quotes
- General Ne Win:
- When her father was killed, he became a great martyr. We can't risk her becoming one too.
- Soldier/Bad News:
- I wear the red scarf and I have the right to kill you.
- Aung San Suu Kyi:
- The art of people is a true mirror of their mind.
- Michael Aris:
- Hope, how we all cling to hope.
- Aung San Suu Kyi:
- Please use your liberty to promote ours.
- Aung San Suu Kyi:
- You may not think about politics, but politics think about you.
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