The Lady (BLU-RAY)

The Lady

On Blu-Ray: 
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Running Time: 
128 Minutes
Did You Know?

After filming was over and The Lady was released Michelle Yeoh was banned from ever returning to Burma. Like Yeoh David Thewlis suffered the same fate, being banned from China, for starring in the film 7 Years In Tibet opposite Brad Pitt.

The Lady is a 2011 biopic about Nobel Prize Laureate and freedom fighter Aung San Suu Kyi, played by Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), who gave hope to the Burmese people that democracy would one day replace the brutal military regime that still occupies the country to this day. David Thewlis (War Horse, Harry Potter) plays her late husband, Doctor Michael Aris, who worked long and hard while being forcefully separated from his wife, to bring her struggle as well as the struggle of the Burmese people to world attention. The film was directed by Luc Besson.

Not knowing a whole lot about Aung San Suu Kyi I went into this film not knowing what to expect. I had some reservations about the film because Luc Besson directed and as of late he’s been focusing mostly on his kid film franchise Arthur and The Invisibles, the only other live action adult film he’s worked on since was The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec, which was good but not as good as his previous outings. In any case I bit my tongue knowing that at least Besson is a director known for films about strong female leads. I would find out soon enough if he had it in him to direct a biopic that abandoned his usual style of fantasy/special effects directing.

The Lady manages to be both a political film about Aung San Suu Kyi and her efforts to bring democracy and freedom to her people in Burma, as well as a touching love story between two people who are separated by political strife and distance. While they work well as separate tales the films real power is combining both. In this way you become more invested seeing Aung San Suu Kyi as both a very vulnerable political figure that rises to the occasion as well as a mother and wife. The script does well to tie all these things together to provide elements of suspense, emotion, and that feel good aspect that any motivational film should possess. It also skirts the issue of some biopics where there is doses of interest and disinterest, making the flow of the film feel choppy. I was enveloped in the film from beginning to end and found myself so emotionally invested I cried during the last fifteen minutes of the film. Despite my reservations about Besson he manages to put together a very well executed film that is made stronger by the excellent performances of Michelle Yeoh and David Thewlis. Their chemistry and deliveries make their characters accessible. Yeoh as a matter of fact blurs the line between who she is as an actress and how well placed she is for this part. Simply amazing. I highly suggest. Enjoy.

I was pretty impressed with The Lady’s Blu-Ray Transfer. Color pops where it should, detail is impressive in both close up and wider shots, and detail is fantastic with facial details really shining through. There is some grain in the picture that plays really hardly noticeable background noise. The opening scene with Aung San Suu Kyi and her father boasts a bit of grain in an exterior shot but later, as I said, though present at times it is hardly noticeable. The Blu-Ray is pretty much excellent with the disc boasting a very fine DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround sound track.

~The Making Of The Lady: Usually when a BD includes so little by way of bonus features, especially just the one clocking in at a 27+ minutes, I’d dock the release a few points. However, The Making of featurette is pretty excellent in how much detail it crams into its short run time. You learn all kinds of interesting facts such as because Besson was not allowed to film The Lady in Burma he snuck in posing as a tourist with a crew of about thirty and they mostly grabbed their shots using guerrilla filmmaking. Most of the film was actually shot in Thailand. Also we learn that Yeoh studied the native language of Suu Kyi and delivered all of her speeches personally in said language. As I watched I was certain they took some old recordings and just had Yeoh lip-synch along with it, but she really studied the language and spoke all of her own dialogue. There’s a lot more information found in this one special feature that will blow your mind. I highly suggest checking it out.


AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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