Anna and the King - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Anna and the King Reviews

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December 5, 2017
Lavishly filmed and beautiful retelling of the classic story. Does have numerous plot flaws however.
"Anna Leonowens: Most people do not see the world as it is. They see it as they are."
½ October 24, 2017
It was very romantic!!! (Some parts I fell asleep to it, but it was all good)=)
October 4, 2017
I wanted this to be better.
July 11, 2016
A celebration of intellectualism, which is refreshing when you look at the current political climate. I also like the cinematography, you don't see this style of film making much past the 70s
April 3, 2016
I've never been disappointed in Jodie Foster's acting ability.
December 10, 2015
A beautiful expansive movie which showed me a lot of the history and culture of Siam. Movies like this are very rarely made in our current digital graphic age, although movies which choose to spend more in filming real people in real places will always reign supreme. This movie shows how powerful a movie can be when you add gorgeous scenery and nature with supreme acting. This movie will not disappoint those looking for a top notch drama.
August 23, 2015
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June 7, 2015
Sort of slow, and a little longer than it should be. Also, it's not entirely faithful to the book.
½ April 28, 2015
Got a lot of mileage in the Arman household. An old school costume epic that engrosses.
February 21, 2015
I'm very surprised by the low rating. Love this film, and the music is incredible!
½ January 17, 2015
grazi vaizdais biografine istorija
January 5, 2015
Loved the movie. Great remake of a classic movie.
½ September 28, 2014
Feels like a period drama with a storyline for film
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
July 14, 2014
"The Sound of Music" in Siam! I went into this film concerned enough about Jodie Foster's English accent going over about as well as her southern accent (Forget the lambs; she probably should have kept a little more silent), so I'm glad that I don't have to worry about her singing Rodgers and Hammerstein style. Oh yeah, I'm sure some English woman teaching the wives and kids of the king of a pre-Thailand is interesting enough on its own, without sweeping Rodgers and Hammerstein musical numbers. It might be, if King Mongkut's polygamy didn't reduce the juice in his scandalous feelings for yet another chick, and if, I don't know, this film was animated. Man, even the other "Anna and the King of Siam" adaptation which came out this year got some serious heat, so 1999 wasn't the best year for that property, you know, to people outside of me. Hey, I like long movies, and if you don't have the patience for all of the thoughtfulness... anachronisms and scenes that were supposedly offensive to Mongkut enough to get the film banned from Thailand, then, yeah, go watch a Warner Bros. cartoon. I don't really know how sophisticated you can make a romance film by the guy who went on to do "Sweet Home Alabama", "Hitch", "Fool's Gold" and "The Bounty Hunter", but it would appear as though there was a time when Andy Tennant tried, and while that pays off enough to make this film better than many say, it seems that he was always one to conform.

Andy Tennant has always been known for being nothing if not formulaic with his romantic flicks, and as compelling as this film is, it's not above Tennant's typical tastes and Steve Meerson's and Peter Krikes' scripted conventions, which leave the film hitting many a trope that it perhaps could have transcended, maybe if it didn't wander so deeply into a familiar path. As something of a fan of lengthy cinema, I feel that the two-and-a-half-hour runtime in instrumental in allowing this drama to flesh itself out as compelling, but, boy, it sure takes its time to do so, dragging along under the overwhelming weight of filler, if not material so excessive that unevenness sets in and shakes focus. I firmly dispute the accusations that this film is boring, because this is a very entertaining drama, although it is nonetheless aimless, taking way too long to tell a tale which would better sustain one's investment if there was more dramatic substance to justify so much extensive exposition. There are a number of grand conflicts, and few, if any major conflicts are ever less than compelling, and yet, there's still something dramatically lacking about this epic, which thrives about as much on fluff as anything, and ultimately has only so much to say. Still, whatever the film has to say, it says with more ambition than it probably should have, because, considering that this is Andy Tennant's adaptation of "Anna and the King of Siam" we're talking about, histrionics are about as predictable as predictability, all but plaguing storytelling with rather cheesily manufactured-feeling happenings and sentimental direction. The more Tennant tries to immerse you into the heart of this melodrama, the more he stresses the shortcomings, of which there are not enough to overshadow the rewarding strengths, but still enough to hold the final product back a draggy and lacking. Still, the fact of the matter is that the final product compels enough to reward the patient who can embrace inspiration through ambition, even in the aesthetic touches.

Speaking of conventions, George Fenton's and Robert Kraft's score is almost, if you will, pathetically formulaic in its fusion of Southeast Asian and western world sensibilities in a sentimental manner that is disconcerting enough in its augmenting a sense of melodramatics, and yet, with all of that said, the soundtrack remains lovely and complimentary to entertainment value, as surely as cinematographer Caleb Deschanel's trademark subtle lighting compliments the beauty of the film's visuals. Having assembled a hefty art direction team comprised of Tom Nursey, John Ralph, Marc Fisichella, Paul Ghirardani and Lek Chaiyan Chunsuttiwat, this film has at least earned universal acclaim for its production value, which is just, as the art directors manage to restore mid-19th century Siam, in all of its distinguished beauty, convincingly and lavishly, in order to liven things up with handsome visual after handsome visual, while immersing you into the grand setting of a pseudo-epic narrative. The story of Anna Leonowens' experience during and influence on major happenings in the royal house of Siam has been adapted in all sorts of ways, and this loose interpretation continues to explore the dramatic and thematic possibilities of this subject matter, being ultimately too formulaic, overdrawn and histrionic for you to disregard natural dramatic shortcomings, yet not so flawed that you can disregard the rather rich dynamicity and intimacy of this almost epic period drama. In fact, Peter Krikes and Steve Meerson play a respectable role in meeting a degree of the dramatic potential, for although their script is excessive in a number of ways, particularly with structuring, it carries its share of tight moments which really do flesh out a great deal of depth to this intimate narrative, partly through rich characterization that is made all the richer by across-the-board effective performances, the most charismatic of which being by Chow Yung-Fat and Jodie Foster. The leads may be seriously lacking in chemistry, but both charm by their own right, with certain dramatic layers on which the resonant highlights of this film thrive, about as much as they thrives on highlights in Andy Tennant's own dramatic performance. Sentimentality plagues Tennant's storytelling throughout the film and thins dramatic genuineness which could have carries the final product a long, long way, despite its natural shortcomings, and yet, with this prelude to a career filled with misfires, Tennant unveils potential as a storyteller, keeping the lighter aspects charming and adequately well-paced, and making sure that they flow into heavier moments organically enough for resonance to all but pierce. At the very least, Tennant keeps entertainment value consistent, because no matter how much the film drags its feet, there is enough color to get you by in between the dramatic heights which secure the final product as a fairly rewarding watch.

When the lesson is wrapped, formulaic and aimlessly overdrawn storytelling shines a light on dramatic limitations about as much as dramatic overambitions, whose overt sentimentality threatens genuine engagement value that is secured firmly enough by lovely, if generic scoring and cinematography, outstanding art direction, well-rounded writing, compelling performances, and entertaining, when not effective direction in order to secure Andy Tennant's "Anna and the King" as a plenty engaging and ultimately, to the patient, rewarding take on Anna Leonowens' time in Siam.

3/5 - Good
June 25, 2014
Much more interesting than that horrible musical
May 22, 2014
A story with so so much potential for dramatic effect made trivial and superficial with stereotypes and silly humor
April 16, 2014
I love this film, its underrated by everyone but i laugh and cry and its glorious.
March 10, 2014
Exquisite cinematography, flawed only by the lack of subtitles for extensive native dialogue. Importance of political sub story too complicated to extrapolate simply from facial expressions and tone of voices. Jodie Foster and Yun-Fat Chow were superb.
November 8, 2013
This is a fairly middle-of-the-road romance movie. It stays light throughout, with the drama centered mainly on the battle of wills between Anna and King Mongkut. Foster and Chow bring gravitas to their characters as they grow towards a romance, but never pursue it due to a stronger commitment: duty. Foster looks perturbed through most of the film, even during happy moments, and the chemistry between her and Chow only materializes in a few scenes. The movies put together well and decently acted, but it lags in parts and seems indecisive about whether this is a light romance or a darker take on the story to probe some social issues
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