If you ask me, this rebel"s a bit too Lady-like… Burma"s heroine doesn"t deserve this schmaltz

If you ask me, this rebel”s a bit too Lady-like… Burma”s heroine doesn”t deserve this schmaltz

The Lady (12a)

Verdict: A real struggle

Oh dear, I wish I admired this film as much as I do its leading character, the Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi, played with reverential sweetness by Michelle Yeoh.

Director Luc Besson is never subtle, but here — encouraged by Rebecca Frayn’s remorselessly earnest screenplay — he ladles on the schmaltz and melodrama for two-and-a-half hours.

The story is worth telling, but not in this way. It’s tiresomely episodic and conducted at the pace of a funeral tribute.

Melodramatic: Yeoh as Aung San Suu Kyi in the movie about Burma

Melodramatic: Yeoh as Aung San Suu Kyi in the movie about Burma”s most famous politician

Dictatorial Burmese generals are like villains in a James Bond movie. The good guys are all sweetness and light, none more so than David Thewlis as our heroine’s equally saintly husband, Michael Aris.

The film badly needed some light and shade, some hint perhaps that the heroine is not perfect, or an insight into her politics, which are too generalised — all we are told is that she’s for democracy and ‘basic human rights’ but against violence. The film never probes deeper than that.

Christopher Plummer once described playing opposite Julie Andrews as like being beaten around the head with a Valentine’s card.

This feels like being force-fed so many ‘get well soon’ cards that you choke.