A story of devotion and human understanding set against a background of political turmoil which continues today. The Lady also is the story of the peaceful quest of the woman who is at the core of Burma’s democracy movement. I had known very little on the situation in Bhurma, and felt the summaries I read prior to visiting the cinema to see this film did not do justice to this. Luc Besson, best known La Femme Nikita and Leon, here directs an admirably earnest biopic about Burmese political activist Aung San Suu Kyi. The film is a real change of pace for both Besson and his leading lady Michelle Yeoh, who swaps her usual high-kicking woman-of-action persona for something much subtler and more affecting.
There are some similarities with another masterpiece of Besson, Leon: The Professional: both are in admiration of courage and love. The only weakness with Yeoh’s performance is that her enunciation is a little wooden during her English-language scenes. Michelle Yeoh gives the best that she could but perhaps Luc Besson may not be the right filmmaker for the job because every scene moves rapidly like A.D.D. It tries to cover all the historic moments, and the threats that when the relationship parts come in, they don’t feel as real and as powerful anymore. Flaws aside, it goes some way to ward making sense of a senseless political situation and tries hard to present its large subject in a manageable bite. I respect Yeoh’s efforts and research in trying to understand Suu Kyi’s motivation and sacrifices as she adopts her language and her delicate mannerism.
So with that said, sure, The Lady has its flaws but nevertheless manages to be a worthy and often moving account of a remarkable life. The setting was wonderful, and I felt the cast played their parts marvellously. Many write ups of the film have criticised the length, however I do not think the story could have developed to give one a reasonable overview of the situation with a shorter script. There’s a good chance that the first thing you will do after watching the film is go home and Google “Aung San Suu Kyi”. If that’s so, then the film has immediately achieved two of its worthiest goals – to educate and inspire.
Perhaps the biggest flaw is the source material is just so awesome the film could never really compare to it. Her story is one that must be told from generation to generation. She’s a symbol of freedom and patriotism. There’s a scene where Aung Sang Suu Kyi finally has a reflective heart to heart conversation with her husband Michael about what has taken place over the years, on whether or not he has any regret staying married to her after not being allowed to visit her for months and sometimes for years. She witnesses corrupt soldiers brutally killing student protesters and sees desperate civilians demonstrating for their rights, using old photos of her father to represent their cause. It isn’t long before Suu Kyi is approached by the people and asked to lead them in their fight for a democratic and peaceful Burma. A good film, although a bit flawed, we still advise you should rush out to see this film.