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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars With Powerful And Dignified Performances, An Epic International Story Loses Some Insight Due To A Focus On Family
The story of Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi has surely got to be one of the most compelling, fascinating, and inspirational tales of fortitude and commitment in the arena of international politics. Winning the Nobel Peace Prize for her struggles to bring democracy to her war-torn land, Suu Kyi gave up everything (including family and freedom) for a cause and a country. It is...
Published 23 months ago by K. Harris

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars (3.5 STARS) Luc Besson's Bio-pic of Aung San Suu Kyi Looks More Like a Love Story
"The Lady," a biographical picture of Aung San Suu Kyi, is directed by Luc Besson, best known for his "La Femme Nikita," "Léon: The Professional" and "The Fifth Element." Michelle Yeoh plays the role of Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese political and human rights activist. David Thewlis is her husband Dr. Michael Aris. (Thewlis also plays his twin brother Anthony.)...
Published on August 24, 2012 by Tsuyoshi


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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars With Powerful And Dignified Performances, An Epic International Story Loses Some Insight Due To A Focus On Family, September 29, 2012
This review is from: The Lady [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The story of Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi has surely got to be one of the most compelling, fascinating, and inspirational tales of fortitude and commitment in the arena of international politics. Winning the Nobel Peace Prize for her struggles to bring democracy to her war-torn land, Suu Kyi gave up everything (including family and freedom) for a cause and a country. It is an epic ongoing tale, one that would surely make an incredible film. Luc Besson, perhaps best known for his flair for stylistic action, takes on "The Lady" and it is a real change-of-pace from his usual fare. The wisest decision that Besson made was casting Michelle Yeoh in the leading role. She brings a tremendous dignity to the proceedings and her calm AND gravitas make her quite believable as Burma's national heroine. "The Lady" doesn't play as a straight-up biography, though. The focus of the film is Suu Kyi's family. I think this is an interesting idea to explore, but also one that I didn't think truly worked. By splitting the plot lines, we end up gaining very little insight into Suu Kyi or the political climate of Burma. If you aren't intimately familiar with the story, you might question why Suu Kyi is so passionate to the cause and just what her specific contributions are.

The movie begins with a bit of back story. We see Suu Kyi's father (a hero of the independence movement) murdered as Burma is presented as a land ruled by force. We then fast forward to Suu Kyi playing the role of an average British housewife. She has a perfect family, her husband (David Thewlis) is an Oxford professor and her two teenage boys are vaguely interchangeable. When her mother back home in Burma becomes ill, she returns to her homeland. Due to her heritage, she is held up as a prominent face for reform. Soon she is being elevated to leader status, but the screenplay never really explains this process in any detail. One day she's just ready to take the mantle. I wanted to see more of what made this transition, get closer to the Suu Kyi character. But we remain somewhat distant throughout due to the split focus. While Suu Kyi is becoming a political power (mostly off screen), Thewlis struggles with cooking and laundry. Really? But "The Lady" is meant to be a more personal telling as the family is divided and threatened. Once again, though, some insight into these personal travails would also have been appreciated. Yeoh and Thewlis never waver from their convictions, display doubt, or wrestle with these hardships in any tangible way. They just accept them nobly and, thus, the love story also lacks a certain depth.

But it's hard to dismiss "The Lady" and, indeed, I quite recommend it. I just don't think that it is the great film that it might have been. Through it all, I couldn't take my eyes off of Yeoh and this is easily her strongest performance in years. Despite the gaps in the story, she made me believe that Suu Kyi would stand as a country's role model. I wish the story wasn't so muted in its political explanations, because really understanding Burma and its struggles would have made this a profound experience. With this woman of sacrifice and solidity, though, the movie still packs an emotional punch. More a love letter to a relationship than an in-depth biography, "The Lady" is a well made film for adults. But for me, it misses the mark to make it the unforgettable epic that it deserved to be. I'd love to see the subject matter explored again with a slightly different perspective. But, for now, "The Lady" and especially Yeoh have whetted my appetite to read up on the real life Suu Kyi. And that's something. KGHarris, 9/12.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars (3.5 STARS) Luc Besson's Bio-pic of Aung San Suu Kyi Looks More Like a Love Story, August 24, 2012
This review is from: The Lady (DVD)
"The Lady," a biographical picture of Aung San Suu Kyi, is directed by Luc Besson, best known for his "La Femme Nikita," "Léon: The Professional" and "The Fifth Element." Michelle Yeoh plays the role of Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese political and human rights activist. David Thewlis is her husband Dr. Michael Aris. (Thewlis also plays his twin brother Anthony.)

"The Lady" starts in 1947. General Aung San was assassinated when his daughter Aung San Suu Kyi was only two years old. About forty years later, Aung San Suu Kyi, now living in Oxford with her husband and two sons, receives a call from Burma. Her mother is ill and in hospital. Aung San Suu Kyi flies back to Burma, where, witnessing the student protests and the bloody suppression of it, she decides to stay and become a leader of the movement for democracy.

Yes, it's Luc Besson and his usual collaborators cinematographer Thierry Arbogast and composer Eric Serra. Unlike in most of his films (including his recent "Arthur" trilogy), his new film is not about a fantastical universe or underworld based on his wild imagination, but about a real-life person who is alive and in the middle of her political career. Actually, Besson made a "bio-pic" once, but I don't think historical accuracy was priority No.1 in making "The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc" for him.

While following her life as a political activist in Burma, Besson also tries to tell us a story of her relationship with her husband Michael Aris. In this way we get to see both her public and private face but despite the film's touching finale, "The Lady" suffers from its uneven pace that sometimes feels rushed. Most people other than Aung San Suu Kyi, and Michael Aris - generals, soldiers or citizens, whether Burmese or British - are relegated to caricatures or cyphers.

Acting is excellent. Michelle Yeoh plays the role of Aung San Suu Kyi with grace and dignity while David Thewlis turns in a moving performance as her husband supporting her even when he is thousands of miles away from her. Their strong bond is the driving force of the film, accompanied by the compelling photography.

"The Lady" puts more focus on the relationship between Aung San Suu Kyi and Michael Aris, than her political career, for better or for worse. As a love story it works, thanks to the strong performances from the leads; as a biographical picture of Aung San Suu Kyi as one of the world's most iconic figures, perhaps we should wait for another film to be made, or read books.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Aung San Suu Kyi "Brings Honor to Us All", August 13, 2012
By 
Nathanael Greene "targeted father" (metropolitan Washington, D.C.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Lady (DVD)
This film's great merit is its incredibly inspirational subject, a biography of the luminous, internationally acclaimed democracy and peoples' rights activist, and Noble Peace Prize laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi. This film's deserving subject rates its four star rating.

Like much of the world, I am a long-time admirer of Aung San Suu Kyi. I became familiar with this incredibly inspirational woman from just reading news articles about her in THE WASHINGTON POST. This film admirably fleshes out these biographical details, into an extremely compelling story about her late-life activist endeavors on behalf of the "Burmese" people, a role she did not seek.

Aung San Suu Kyi's petite physical attractiveness and captivating yet disarming personal presence, suitably complements her humanistic character. The actress Michelle Yeoh is something of an Aung San Suu Kyi look-alike, and is well-cast to portray the attributes and accomplishments of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Maybe I love Aung San Suu Kyi because she always wears flowers in her hair - always. Remember the famous song lyric from the 1960s, "Be sure to wear flowers in your hair!"

I was fortunate to view this film shortly before Aung San Suu Kyi made her triumphal visit to Europe in the summer of 2012, in part to receive a long delayed bestowal of her Nobel Peace Prize, and to hear parts of her acceptance speech.

Aung San Suu Kyi's triumphal tour of Europe also physically exhausted her - there was simply not enough of this petite and forcibly secluded woman to satisfy the overwhelming emotional embrace and demands of many people, and many countries, who all seemed to want her for themselves. She even had the extremely rare honor of, I believe, a private citizen addressing the Parliament of the UK.

To quote the Olympic Creed, because she has "endured the struggle," Aung San Suu Kyi "Has brought honor to us all."

Watch this DVD, and see why.

I will purchase this DVD as soon as it is released for sale.

I will also purchase a copy of this DVD for my 15-year old daughter, so she will know what a woman can do - particularly a woman in a repressive, patriarchal world.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars With Powerful And Dignified Performances, An Epic International Story Loses Some Insight Due To A Focus On Family, October 9, 2012
This review is from: The Lady (Amazon Instant Video)
The story of Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi has surely got to be one of the most compelling, fascinating, and inspirational tales of fortitude and commitment in the arena of international politics. Winning the Nobel Peace Prize for her struggles to bring democracy to her war-torn land, Suu Kyi gave up everything (including family and freedom) for a cause and a country. It is an epic ongoing tale, one that would surely make an incredible film. Luc Besson, perhaps best known for his flair for stylistic action, takes on "The Lady" and it is a real change-of-pace from his usual fare. The wisest decision that Besson made was casting Michelle Yeoh in the leading role. She brings a tremendous dignity to the proceedings and her calm AND gravitas make her quite believable as Burma's national heroine. "The Lady" doesn't play as a straight-up biography, though. The focus of the film is Suu Kyi's family. I think this is an interesting idea to explore, but also one that I didn't think truly worked. By splitting the plot lines, we end up gaining very little insight into Suu Kyi or the political climate of Burma. If you aren't intimately familiar with the story, you might question why Suu Kyi is so passionate to the cause and just what her specific contributions are.

The movie begins with a bit of back story. We see Suu Kyi's father (a hero of the independence movement) murdered as Burma is presented as a land ruled by force. We then fast forward to Suu Kyi playing the role of an average British housewife. She has a perfect family, her husband (David Thewlis) is an Oxford professor and her two teenage boys are vaguely interchangeable. When her mother back home in Burma becomes ill, she returns to her homeland. Due to her heritage, she is held up as a prominent face for reform. Soon she is being elevated to leader status, but the screenplay never really explains this process in any detail. One day she's just ready to take the mantle. I wanted to see more of what made this transition, get closer to the Suu Kyi character. But we remain somewhat distant throughout due to the split focus. While Suu Kyi is becoming a political power (mostly off screen), Thewlis struggles with cooking and laundry. Really? But "The Lady" is meant to be a more personal telling as the family is divided and threatened. Once again, though, some insight into these personal travails would also have been appreciated. Yeoh and Thewlis never waver from their convictions, display doubt, or wrestle with these hardships in any tangible way. They just accept them nobly and, thus, the love story also lacks a certain depth.

But it's hard to dismiss "The Lady" and, indeed, I quite recommend it. I just don't think that it is the great film that it might have been. Through it all, I couldn't take my eyes off of Yeoh and this is easily her strongest performance in years. Despite the gaps in the story, she made me believe that Suu Kyi would stand as a country's role model. I wish the story wasn't so muted in its political explanations, because really understanding Burma and its struggles would have made this a profound experience. With this woman of sacrifice and solidity, though, the movie still packs an emotional punch. More a love letter to a relationship than an in-depth biography, "The Lady" is a well made film for adults. But for me, it misses the mark to make it the unforgettable epic that it deserved to be. I'd love to see the subject matter explored again with a slightly different perspective. But, for now, "The Lady" and especially Yeoh have whetted my appetite to read up on the real life Suu Kyi. And that's something. KGHarris, 9/12.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Michelle Yeoh's stellar and career-defining performance in a fine film, February 8, 2013
This review is from: The Lady [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
In this excellent Anglo-French production, director Luc Besson has chosen to tell the story of Aung San Suu Kyi through the experience of her marriage to Oxford academic Michael Aris (an intelligent and sensitive performance by David Thewlis). The film explores the heartache of a family life characterised by long separations due to Suu's choice to commit her life first and foremost to democracy and civil rights in her native Burma, and the resultant choices and sacrifices which both agree to endure for the cause.

What might in the hands of a less skilled director have turned into a political polemic, or worse, a worthy but uninvolving biopic, has become under Besson's skilled direction a truly great film with a strong storyline and real emotional power. The action see-saws between Suu's struggles against the regime in Burma and Michael's safe, suburban academic life in Oxford, highlighting his unquestioning support for her decision even though it means she is absent from her children growing through adolescence, and of course from him. Whilst stopping short of doing Suu actual harm because her high public profile would bring down the outrage of the international community, the military regime in Burma does everything possible to make her leave Burma `voluntarily' - but she refuses to go, knowing that if she were to leave, new laws would be framed by the regime to ensure she would never be allowed back and she could be far less effective outside the country.

The audience is not spared graphic images of the horrors perpetrated by the Burmese regime. The violence however is in no way gratuitous, but essential to the action and to the story. The less well-known struggles of Michael in the background - bringing up the teenage boys on his own, lobbying for his wife to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to attract international news coverage & so add a layer of protection for her, missing her but uncomplaining - are well portrayed by Thewlis, whose performance is noble, intelligent and understated, and capped off by his brief cameos as Michael's identical-twin brother.

Michelle Yeoh remains the shining star of the film. Her portrayal of Aung San Suu Kyi runs the full gamut of the emotional spectrum while remaining noble and dignified in the face of ever-mounting indignities. She also learned Burmese (!) for the role, delivering Suu's public speeches in front of large crowds in the Burmese language with utter conviction. You will believe absolutely that Yeoh is Aung San Suu Kyi, clearly understanding the difficult choices she made and their consequences.

The film would be worth five stars just for Yeoh's stellar performance, but in fact `The Lady' is a finely crafted and emotionally involving film with no weak performances. Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding, December 4, 2012
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This review is from: The Lady (Amazon Instant Video)
this movie is an epic and an inspirational one story.... Anyone who believes in the spirit of human being will appreciate this movie... despite some people's supression, the lady came out as iconic figure who provides voice to her people....
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the lady, November 16, 2012
This is a must see movie about love dedication and selflessness. The cast and the storyline was phenomenal.! was phSimply awesome
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Aung San Su Kyi, November 6, 2012
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This review is from: The Lady (Amazon Instant Video)
Michelle Yeoh is amazing, especially since this portrayal is about a living celebrity so recently in the global spot-light. As with all positive biographies, it's difficult to be objective but Luc Bresson and Michelle put the vulnerabilities, sacrifices and hard choices made on the table. Bravo!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting film -- and note on different releases --, April 7, 2013
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This review is from: The Lady [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This may not be a masterpiece, but it is nonetheless riveting; as difficult to stop watching it as it is to take one's eyes off the charismatic Aung San Suu Kyi. I'm still trying to get my head around the fact that this tiny woman, all of about 90 pounds, is at the same time so huge.

Michelle Yeoh is outstanding (as are the other leads).

As for releases:

My first copy of this was from Canada (featuring French menu, and with a French voice track and subtitles, in addition to the English), but via Hong Kong. The English subtitles (which remain on screen even when the actors are speaking English) are atrocious. For that reason, though hesitant because of the price, I bought blu-ray copy of the "Cohen" release. The English subtitles are reworked, so are fine. And they aren't on screen when the dialog is in English.

So if you enjoy the film, prefer accurate subtitles, and the price isn't too much of an obstacle, go for the "Cohen" release.
_____

For those who've seen it, and if they had questions about her conversation with her son Kim while her husband is dying -- her saying, "try to understand," and, "my hands are tied" -- this, from her speech, "Freedom from Fear," illuminates, in which she is speaking of "a-gati" of Buddhist ethics:

"It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it. Most Burmese are familiar with the four a-gati, the four kinds of corruption. Chanda-gati, corruption induced by desire, is deviation from the right path in pursuit of bribes or for the sake of those one loves. Dosa-gati is taking the wrong path to spite those against whom one bears ill will, and moga-gati is aberration due to ignorance. But perhaps the worst of the four is bhaya-gati, for not only does bhaya, fear, stifle and slowly destroy all sense of right and wrong, it so often lies at the root of the other three kinds of corruption. Just as chanda-gati, when not the result of sheer avarice, can be caused by fear of want or fear of losing the goodwill of those one loves, so fear of being surpassed, humiliated or injured in some way can provide the impetus for ill will. And it would be difficult to dispel ignorance unless there is freedom to pursue the truth unfettered by fear. With so close a relationship between fear and corruption it is little wonder that in any society where fear is rife corruption in all forms becomes deeply entrenched."

Specifically:

"Chanda-gati, corruption induced by desire, is deviation from the right path in pursuit of bribes or for the sake of those one loves."

And: ". . . . chanda-gati, when not the result of sheer avarice, can be caused by fear of want or fear of losing the goodwill of those one loves . . . ."

I read somewhere a cryptic comment about her son/s being angry, apparently at her for not being there when their father died. I am assuming that conversation refers to that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing woman, June 12, 2014
By 
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This review is from: The Lady (DVD)
I saw this movie while I was visiting Burma and wanted a copy for myself. Aun Sung Suu Kyi is alive, 70 years old, and a member of parliament in Myanmar and her supporters are hoping to change the constitution so she can run for prime minister again. Although she has 75% of the people supporting her it may not be enough to take down the oppressive military government that held her on house arrest for 12 years in the past.
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The Lady [Blu-ray]
The Lady [Blu-ray] by Luc Besson (Blu-ray - 2012)
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