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"ANNA AND THE KING"
(1999) (Jodie Foster, Chow Yun-Fat) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor Moderate Extreme Heavy Heavy
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor None Moderate None None
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild Mild Moderate Mild *Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A mid-19th century English schoolteacher must cope with the King of Siam and his country's ways as she tries to educate his many children.
PLOT:
It's 1862 and English school teacher Anna Leonowens (JODIE FOSTER) has arrived in Bangkok to teach the fifty-eight children of King Mongkut (CHOW YUN-FAT), the ruler of Siam. At first, things are a bit tenuous for Anna in her new position. While her son Louis (TOM FELTON) seems to have no problem adjusting to this foreign culture, Anna is upset that the promise of a house for her and Louis outside the palace has been broken and that the King has yet to meet her some three weeks after her arrival.

Thus, Anna storms in to see the King, breaking all protocol and tradition and horrifying the monarch's advisors such as The Kralahome (SYED ALWI). Nonetheless, the King is somewhat impressed by Anna's tenacity and decides that she might be a worthy educator for teaching his children, including the heir to his throne, Prince Chulalongkorn (KEITH CHIN), about the ways of the Western world.

Mongkut is worried about his country falling behind the rest of the world and wishes to turn it into a major power by becoming as westernized as possible while still retaining Siam's traditions and culture. One of those is having many wives, and he's recently received a new one, Tuptim (BAI LING), into his fold, who's greeted by his main wife, Lady Thiang (DEANNA YUSOFF).

Even so, the King has more pressing concerns, what with recent attacks by neighboring Burmese soldiers on his people. Since Burma is controlled by Britain, Mongkut worries about that country's imperial ways, and his military advisors, including Prince Chowfa (LIM KAY SIU), his brother, and General Alak (RANDALL DUK KIM), urge that he take swift military action to quell the problem.

As Mongkut ponders over how to protect his country and its traditions while trying to bring it up to modern standards, he and Anna discover things about themselves and each other as romantic feelings begin to bud between the two.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of Foster, Yun-Fat or the earlier musical version of this story, they may, but it's not very likely that this film will be much of a draw to most kids.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For some intense violent sequences.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JODIE FOSTER plays an independent and widowed English schoolteacher who doesn't kowtow to the King and his country's chauvinistic ways, but does show respect to them.
  • CHOW YUN-FAT plays the King of Siam, a man who tries to uphold his country's traditions and cultural ways while attempting to become a more modern, westernized power. He smokes a few times, has some people executed for breaking his country's laws, and has sired (and continues to do so) many children with his many wives and concubines.
  • TOM FELTON plays Anna's mostly well-mannered son.
  • SYED ALWI plays the King's trusted advisor.
  • KEITH CHIN plays the heir to the throne, an initially conceited young man who eventually warms up to Anna.
  • BAI LING plays a young woman "given" to the King as another wife. Upset at this and the probability of never seeing her boyfriend/husband again, she endangers her life by breaking the rules and tradition of her country.
  • RANDALL DUK KIM plays a turncoat general in the King's military.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a quick look at the content found in this PG-13 rated drama. Violence, while for the most part not particularly bloody or graphic, rates as extreme due to many people being killed on and off-screen, two beheadings and the sight of several people who've been hanged.

    A few of those scenes are bloody, however, and some of that material may be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers (particularly the scene where the executions by beheading occur just off camera). In addition, extreme bad attitudes (and some more mild ones) are present and exhibited by various characters.

    Although existing in a monarchy where the King can have many wives, we learn that he's sired more than fifty children with those wives and concubines and some comments are made about that. Beyond that, some smoking, drinking and a few brief instances of tense family scenes (the King dealing with the death of a child and his brother), the film's remaining categories have little or nothing in the way of major objectionable content.

    As always, however, we suggest that you take a closer look at our more detailed content listings should you still be concerned with the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • While rehearsing for a dinner with the British, we see servers pouring champagne/wine. Later, and at the actual reception, people do have such drinks.
  • Siamese officers drink what's presumably wine or some other sort of alcohol.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see some murdered people who've been hung high off the ground from trees (the sight of this may be unsettling, but the bodies aren't bloody or gory).
  • From outside a window we see a person shot indoors and their body hitting the curtains, leaving a blood stain on them.
  • A man's leg is rather bloody after breaking it by jumping from a window.
  • A man has some bloody marks on his face.
  • A woman's back is bloody after being caned.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Granted that it's a different time and culture, but Anna is told that women don't stand in front of the King (but she does so anyway). In addition, Prince Chulalongkorn tells Louis that men should never say "sorry" to any woman.
  • The King reneges on his promise to provide Anna and her son a home outside the palace walls.
  • Louis comments that the religious chanting/humming of the locals sounds like being inside a beehive.
  • Burmese forces have extreme cases of both for killing many Siamese people.
  • Prince Chulalongkorn isn't initially respectful of Anna or Louis (and instead is downright defiant), but eventually changes his ways.
  • We see that an older woman had a younger woman, her slave, chained to a wall. She then gets upset that Anna buys the slave's freedom.
  • During a festival, Prince Chulalongkorn steals a cigar.
  • A visitor lustfully states that he wishes he were Siamese so that he could have many wives like the King. He then repeatedly goes on about the superiority of the British over other peoples.
  • One of the King's trusted men turns out to be murderous traitor and defects to the other side.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • We see some murdered people who've been hung high off the ground from trees.
  • Anna hears some weird sounds/voices at night and goes to investigate and finds a poor woman chained to a wall.
  • Burmese assassins, carrying pistols and rifles, rush into a building filled with Siamese people. We then hear struggling and gunshots, and then see the silhouette of a person being shot, their body hitting the window curtains and leaving a small blood stain on them.
  • Guards chase after Tuptim after she's broken some laws.
  • Executioners prepare to (and eventually do) behead several people (but we don't see a graphic version of this - it occurs off camera, but still comes off as rather severe).
  • The King's men try to prepare for an attack by the approaching Burmese forces and we then see them rapidly approaching. There's then a standoff on a bridge and the King is nearly shot
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Swords: Carried by the King's guards and used to defend him and later used to behead two people in a court-ordered execution.
  • Spears/Guns: Carried by soldiers.
  • Rifles/Pistols: Used by assassins to kill many people in a room (we only see the silhouette of one such killing and hear the rest from the outside) and also used in later conflicts to kill or wound.
  • Canons: Carried on the backs of elephants.
  • Explosives: Used to blow up a bridge.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • We see that Tuptim has shaved her head bald.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A moderate amount of suspenseful music occurs during the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • None.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • It's reported that the king has sired fifty-eight children (with more to come) through his many wives and concubines (and Louis asks what the latter is, but his mother just tells him to "sh").
  • The King comes to see Tuptim for the first time and we hear that he's "a kind and generous lover" (but we don't see any activity).
  • A visitor lustfully states that he wishes he were Siamese so that he could have many wives like the King.
  • Tuptim wears an outfit for which the top only consists of strips of material that crisscross her breasts.
  • SMOKING
  • Mongkut smokes several times while also holding unlit cigars at others. Meanwhile, various miscellaneous characters also smoke.
  • The King offers a cigar to Louis, but Anna lets him know what she thinks about that. The King then comments that he's been smoking since he was a young boy.
  • During a festival, Prince Chulalongkorn steals a cigar and we later see Louis quite sick from having shared it with him (we don't see the actual smoking).
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We learn that Anna has been a widow now for twenty-three months and she and Louis occasionally talk about her husband/his father.
  • One of the King's children dies after being very sick (and dies in his arms).
  • The King learns that his brother has been murdered.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The different ways/culture of Siam in the mid 19th century (the King have many wives, etc...) as compared to England of the same time and then both compared to today's world.
  • VIOLENCE
  • While the category receives an extreme rating due to many people being killed, the majority of it isn't graphic or bloody.
  • We see some murdered people who've been hung high off the ground from trees and then see more murdered people.
  • When Anna approaches the King for the first time, his guards pull their swords and briefly threaten her with them.
  • After Prince Chulalongkorn makes a disparaging remark about Louis' dead father, Louis pushes the Prince and the two then get into a fight (mostly struggling with each other).
  • Burmese assassins, carrying pistols and rifles, rush into a building filled with Siamese people. We then hear struggling and gunshots, and then see the silhouette of a person being shot, their body hitting the window shades and leaving a small blood stain on them.
  • The King's forces ride into an enemy camp, firing upon and killing a few soldiers.
  • We see several people falling over/dying from being poisoned.
  • A traitor opens fire on the King's brother and then chases after him, causing the brother to jump from a window, breaking his leg. The traitor then chases after the injured brother and eventually shoots him point blank (the brother's body falls into a river and floats away).
  • A guard hits a man who's on trial, apparently knocking him unconscious. Other guards then cane the woman on trial with him.
  • Two people are executed by being beheaded with swords (the impact occurs off camera, but is heard and still comes off as rather graphic/severe although we don't really see anything).
  • Anna violently knocks over a tea cart/tray.
  • Several soldiers are shot and killed.
  • A man is killed when a bridge is blown up as he prepares to shoot someone else.



  • Reviewed December 2, 1999 / Posted December 17, 1999

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