The story takes place in 1860s. Anna Leonowens (Jodi Foster) is a widowed British schoolteather who comes to Siam with her young son Louis (Tom Felton) by the king's invitation. King Mongkut of Siam (Yun-Fat Chow) wants Anna to educate his numerous children - 58, to be exact.
Anna is one brave lady, impossible not to admire. She comes to a world very different from her own: Asia vs. Europe, Buddhist vs. Christianity; women have little respect in Siam; slaves are owned and abused; court protocol requires falling flat on your face before the king. Thankfully, King Mongkut is wise enough to respect Anna's traditions and not force her to follow all the local rules. Still, the conflict between them is inevitable as Anna continues to speak up against what she sees as cruelty and injustice. Once again, I have to give the king credit for not acting rashly and trying to understand Anna. She understands him too, eventually: intelligent and well-educated, he is bound by centuries of traditions that he cannot simply break even if he wants to.
The movie is over two hours long, but it is so well done that you will not know where the time went. The romantic theme is subtle and not overdone. The film is very educational and appropriate for kids, although there is some violence in it.