Anna and the King (1999).

annaFilm starring Chow Yan Fat and Jodie Foster, its the oft-told story of the English schoolteacher Anna Leonowens who won over the King of Siam when she began teaching the royal children.

I used to love this film when I was younger and I recently saw it again, having not seen it for at least 3 years. It seems to have more heart than other adaptations of the story, but at the same time it wants to certainly cram in a romance plotline between Anna and Monkut – a understated romance, anyway.

Visually, its interesting. The costumes are sumptuous and the music is somewhat whimsical. I almost forgot the breathy tones of Joy Enriquez singing ‘How Can I not Love You?’ the movie’s main theme.

The acting is an interesting medley but a bit saccharine in places. The two main leads work well together and I really want to see more of Yan Fat’s work (I also saw him in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. He was a marvel there too.) and its rather endearing to see Tom Felton – Draco Malfoy of Harry Potter fame – in an early role.

I can see why I liked this movie when I was younger. However, my tastes have grown and developed. It helped me get interested in film, but I don’t adore it. If that makes sense? A bit more of a human story than the 1956 King and I film, it is worth a watch but quite long in duration.

MY RATING: **.5 / *****

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