Anna and the King

Critics Consensus

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



Reviews Counted: 100

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Average Rating: 3.2/5

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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 Leonowens, hired by the king of Thailand (Chow Yun-Fat) in the 19th century to help care for his children. The king wants the best for his children, but Anna soon discovers that he is a strong-willed but quixotic leader, and her stay in Thailand becomes a struggle for power with romantic overtones, as they decide who will have authority over the royal youngsters. Anna and the King was directed by Andy Tennant, best known for his 1998 variation on the Cinderella story, Ever After. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Jodie Foster
as Anna Leonowens
Yun-Fat Chow
as King Mongkut
Bai Ling
as Tuptim
Syed Alwi
as The Kralahome
Randall Duk Kim
as General Alak
Kay Siu Lim
as Prince Chowfa
Melissa Campbell
as Princess Fa-Ying
Keith Chin
as Prince Chulalongkorn
Mano Maniam
as Moonshee
Deanna Yusoff
as Lady Thiang
Geoffrey Palmer
as Lord John Bradley
Anne Firbank
as Lady Bradley
Bill Stewart
as Mycroft Kincaid
Sean Ghazi
as Khun Phra Balat
Afdlin Shauki
as Interpreter
Neo Swee-lin
as Lady Jao Jom Manda Ung
Ramli Hassan
as King Chulalongkorn
Robert Hands
as Captain Blake
Lim Yu-Beng
as Scarfaced Leader
Kenneth Tsang
as Justice Phya Phrom
Kee Thuan Chye
as Second Judge
Patrick Teoh
as Third Judge
Aimi Aziz
as Lady of Court No. 1
Ellie Suriatry Omar
as Lady of Court No. 2
Tina Lee Siew Ting
as Lady of Court No. 3
Wong Chiu Ling
as Lady of Court No. 4
Zaridah Abdul Malik
as Lady of Court No. 5
Ahmad Mazlan
as Scout No. 1
Mohd Razib Saliman
as Scout No. 2
as Siamese Trader
Pak Ling
as Shipping Dock Woman
Zulhaila Siregar
as Distraught Villager
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Critic Reviews for Anna and the King

All Critics (100) | Top Critics (29)

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.

Matthew Slaven
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.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


Such a beautiful story. Jodie Foster and Chow Yun-Fat play their roles perfectly. I loved it.

Rachel F
Rachel F

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.

Red Lats
Red Lats

Super Reviewer

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