Even though the plight of Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi has been well documented in the news as well as in the arts over the years, especially since her 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, her story is still not common knowledge in the United States. But thanks to director Luc Besson’s new film The Lady, it might soon gain quite a bit more attention. The film stars Michelle Yeoh who is astonishingly accurate as Suu Kyi with David Thewlis as her husband, English scholar Michael Aris, as they fight for democracy against the military rule that has run Burma, officially known as Myanmar, after assassinating her father and imprisoning her in her home for years.
Besson, who is known for stylized films such as: The Fifth Element and The Transporter does an amazing job both in the accuracy in the film and in terms of the narrative which is both rousingly inspiring and at times heartbreaking. The political story is interwoven with the personal love story between Suu Kyi and Aris and their two sons as they are separated and powerless.
The images are fantastic and the film manages to avoid overdramatizing the tale and even though there are a few missteps cinematically, Michelle Yeoh’s performance transcends any shortcomings the film has. Even if you can’t find Burma on a map and never heard of Suu Kyi aside from her images on OBEY t-shirts, it’s hard not to love this heroic telling of her determination and heart, a story which has yet to conclude.
The Lady starring Michelle Yeoh and directed by Luc Besson opens April 11, 20012 in theaters.