The Lady (12A)
Starring: Michelle Yeoh, David Thewlis
The good intentions that pave the way of this tribute to the Burmese democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi are sadly undermined by its galumphing methods. Luc Besson's film could scarcely be more slavish in its devotion to the lady and to her principles of non-violent resistance, but slavishness is no tinder for a drama – it's a retardant.
Michelle Yeoh has the gentle demeanour and noble cheekbones of Suu Kyi, who is about to lead her country into democratic light when a brutal military junta steps in to shut it down, placing her under house arrest and dispatching her many supporters to prison, or worse. David Thewlis plays her husband, Michael Aris, an Oxford academic who frets away months, years, of enforced separation back in England, raising their two sons while waiting for news.
The poignancy of his vigil is compounded when he is diagnosed with cancer, and the question of whether Suu Kyi will return to see him before he dies is agonisingly pondered. I'm afraid it's agonising in a different way for the audience, subjected to dialogue so stilted and inhuman it seems to have passed through several translations, all equally inept. Writer Rebecca Frayn was allegedly mortified by Besson's hijacking of her screenplay: she's right to be. Hardly a line is spoken that doesn't clunk, and the film's refusal to portray Aung San Suu Kyi as anything less than a saint is disastrous, in the same way that Eastwood's biopic of Nelson Mandela was. Portraits require shade not just for authenticity but for interest's sake. This hagiography wants only to blind us – insistently, boringly – with a sanctified light.
Review: A panoramic account of the hacking scandalbooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Scientists create transparent mouse complete with see-through organs
- 2 Pope Francis issues top 10 tips for happiness
- 3 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 4 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
- 5 Amazonian Indian tribe filmed making contact with Brazil village in rare video footage
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
- < Previous
- Next >