REVIEW – The Lady
Director: Luc Besson Writer: Rebecca Frayn
Cinequest 22 opened their thirteen days of filmed story-telling with the docu-drama/love story, “The Lady.” The telling of the life and times of Aung San Suu Kyi (played by Michelle Yeoh) , the real-life reluctant leader of the Burma National League for Democracy.
Director Besson weaves the drama of Kyi’s rise to dominance in the world of dictatorships with the story of her separation from her true loves, husband Michael (David Thewlis) and her sons.
Having returned to Burma in 1988 to attend her ailing mother, Kyi (daughter of assassinated military and Burmese Independence leader Aung San), is recruited by the people to begin a political movement for democratic reform. Even though she was under house arrest (for fifteen years), Suu Kyi became a thorn in the side of the military junta as she began leading her people toward democracy.
Michelle Yeoh gives a powerfully poignant performance bordering on brilliance that portrays the real Suu Kyi’s quiet resolve and defiance in the face of constant threats and hostility. Thewlis offered a profound portrayal as her loving husband and personal advocate. Though separated for many years by the heavy-handed Burmese leadership, Thewlis shows husband Michael’s true-life unflinching and steadfast support.
Besson captured the heart of the Burmese conflict through then eyes of Suu Kyi, then captured the love of husband and wife, knowing they had to support one another, even through hardxship and death.
“The Lady” is a love story – Suu Kyi’s love of country, love for her people, and love of her family. “The Lady” is a drama about Suu Kyi’s fight for democracy under an ironfisted dictatorship unwilling to listen to the people. “The Lady” carries a melancholy, but in return is uplifting, ennobling, and is simply a must-see film.