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Anna and the King

Anna and the King is a 1999 American biographical period drama film directed by Andy Tennant and written by Steve Meerson and Peter Krikes. Loosely based on the 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam, which give a fictionalized account of the diaries of Anna Leonowens, it stars Jodie Foster and Chow Yun-fat in the titular roles.

Plot

Anna Leonowens (Jodie Foster) is a British widow who has come to Siam with her son Louis (Tom Felton) to teach English to the dozens of children of King Mongkut (Chow Yun-fat). She is a strong-willed, intelligent, valiant and benevolent woman for her time, and this pleases the King. Mongkut wants to modernize Siam, thinking this will help his country resist colonialism and protect the ancient traditions that give Siam its identity. Mongkut and Anna discuss differences between Eastern and Western love, but he dismisses the notion that a man can be happy with only one wife. In order to win favors through Britain's ambassadors, Mongkut orders a sumptuous reception and appoints Anna to organize it. During the reception, the King spars graciously and wittily with Sir Mycroft Kincaid (Bill Stewart), of the East India Company. The Europeans express their beliefs that Siam is a superstitious, backward nation. Mongkut dances with Anna at the reception.