History and current events have collided in the last weeks with the coincidental release of Aung San Suu Kyi from 15 years of house arrest in Myanmar (Burma) and the film about her life — “The Lady.”
As the world now knows, Suu Kyi left Burma and eventually earned a degree at Oxford and married a Brit who eventually became an Oxford professor. They had two children and Suu Kyi devoted herself to becoming what friends described as a wonderful wife, mother and cook. But in 1988, when her sons were aged approximately 15 and 11, she visited her mother in Burma and never returned.
The central personal issue is that Suu Kyi had a choice. Once she returned to Burma to her hospitalized mother the government told her she could either leave the country and never return or stay and be under house arrest. History has her choosing her country over her family.
Often compared to Mahatma Gandhi, Suu Kyi won the 1991 Nobel Peace as an advocate of non-violent struggle for human rights, democracy and ethnic conciliation in Myanmar (aka Buma).
Now she is lovingly called Daw Suu by the Burmese. On April 1, 2012, she was elected to the Myanmar Parliament, making her eligible in three years to run for President.
I have questions about Suu Kyi’s life. What role did her father play in Burma’s liberation from the British Empire? Why was he assassinated? How did Suu Kyi become the anointed legacy, destined to carry on what her father began? How could she abandon her family? How did she maintain herself under the years of house arrest and imprisonment?
Surprisingly, despite all the hype about this film and the choice of the magnificent Michelle Yeoh (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) playing the lead, “The Lady” has received poor reviews. Rotten Tomatoes shows that top film critics have averaged a 20-percent rating. Why is that?
Is the film inaccurate? Does it not flesh out the character of Daw Suu? Does it not give the historical background? Is it boring?
My family is curious about this woman who has sacrificed so much. I’m taking them to the film tonight and will report back tomorrow. In the meantime, take a look at the trailer and see what you think. To me it looks absolutely gripping in both its historical and human drama. Despite the fact that I already know the story, I was crying before the end – will the movie have the same impact?
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