During the 16th century, as Thailand contends with both a civil war and Burmese invasion, a beautiful princess rises up to help protect the glory of the Kingdom of Ayothaya. Based on the life of Queen Suriyothai.
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The film describes historical events in the life of the heroine, Suriyothai, the queen of King Mahachakrapat. from the age of 15, ranging from love and attachment, royal wedding, resettlement in the capital, court life, intrigues, and sustenance of royal dignity. Written by
I was pleasantly suprised by this film. It's a compelling tale of a nation's painful evolution, a unique mixture of murder, ambition, betrayal, duty and national pride. It has flaws - clumsy action scenes, wooden acting, confusing plot - but overall the heart and emotion of the film won me over, that and the fact that I have a soft spot for anything Thai. It's basically a Thai version of Joan of Arc, mixed with lethal doses of political scheming and battlefield mayhem. The title character is a princess who gives up the man she loves and agrees to marry into a more politically advantageous situation for her family. Suriyothai is loyal, self-less heroine who's smart enough to give her husband shrewd advise on how to improve his political standing and survive during the volatile times (mid 1500's). We watch as one King suffers a gruesome death to small pox, leaving an infant on his throne who is quickly overthrown by an ambitious prince. The new King loses his wife during childbirth, then takes another woman as his consort. It's this second wife who sets into motion the main drama of the film as she plots to kill her husband and disrupt the royal succession. All the while Thailand is fighting off rebellious provinces and staving off their aggressive neighbor, the King of Burma. The resulting parade of beheadings, poisonings, sneak-attacks and political backstabbing would put Italy's Borgias to shame. The finale features a battle against overwhelming odds with heroic sacrifices that help explain the reverence Thai people have toward their monarchy. If you can handle subtitles and love historical drama (and battles featuring elephants), then "The Legend of Suriyothai" is for you.
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