Mixed or average reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 21
  2. Negative: 1 out of 21
Watch On
  1. Huge, sprawling, and utterly absorbing.
  2. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Fun, fun, fun. [July/Aug 2003, p.26]
  3. It's more interesting than it sounds. Besides the sheer spectacle, which is notable.
  4. 75
    Though stilted and emotionally vacant at times, it's still an entertaining and absorbing experience.
  5. After a rough orientation, it kicks in to be a visually enthralling, viscerally rousing, politically fascinating epic of the old school that evokes the pleasures of the great spectaculars of the Hollywood past.
  6. Not the place to go look for nuanced, deeply emotional performances. The acting is inevitably on the formal side, suitable for the pageant this film is. But don't let that dissuade you. They won't be making another film like this any time soon, and the chance to see all those elephants is not one you get every day.
  7. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    The frequently confusing story does eventually pull together; but there's still a lack of any strong emotional center, and the character gallery remains over-populated.
  8. This lavish and captivating production by veteran Thai director Chatri Chalerm Yukol (Salween) transports us to another world where even the film stock seems imbued with a timeless, classic quality.
  9. 70
    Comes closer to deification than dramatization--a shame, since the film offers some powerful set pieces and jaw-dropping spectacle.
  10. Although the story and imagery are absorbing to watch, the details of the plot are sometimes hard to follow and fully digest. But enough of it survives to make this extravagant production a delightful experience for Westerners to watch.
  11. What's singular is that it was funded by the current Thai royal family and directed by a royal prince, Chatrichalerm Yukol.
  12. It's the equivalent of our "Gone With the Wind," Russia's "War and Peace" or, to take a more modest example, South Korea's "Chunhyang." Sheer ambition and grandiose make the film interesting -- up to a point.
  13. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    The movie is both stunning on the level of visual pageantry and curiously inert as cinema.
  14. 50
    The fact that the story makes sense at all remains Coppola and his butchers' sole achievement.
  15. 50
    Manages to build interest as it goes along, leading to a spectacular climactic battle with all those elephants.
  16. The movie keeps you at a distance; it is visually sweeping, and the history is fascinating, but the drama is rarely stirring.
  17. 50
    The characters are flat creatures of duty, and the film is more a tale of the collective will of a state than of the rugged individuals behind it.
  18. 50
    The storytelling is jerky (perhaps in part because the running time was trimmed from 185 to 142 minutes for U.S. release) and character development takes a backseat to a breathless rush through battles, assassinations and dynastic plotting.
  19. Yukol has spread a huge canvas, gloriously costumed and photographed, but the staging and acting are often awkward and the saga is simply too dense for good drama.
  20. Prince Chatri Chalerm Yukol's movie is lovely, large, and tedious, subscribing blindly to storybook stereotypes (this warrior is brave, this prince is noble, this consort is evil) and acted, for the most part, in a passionless monotone.
  21. Easy on the eyes and hard on the head, Suriyothai is absolutely unaffecting where it matters most, in the heart.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 13 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. KlausV
    Nov 27, 2003
    A rich and stunning movie that succeeds well in recreating the past. It is a true epic, including romance, treason, murder, battles, and A rich and stunning movie that succeeds well in recreating the past. It is a true epic, including romance, treason, murder, battles, and sacrifice. Especially the elephants are a delight to watch. Unfortunately, at least to western viewers, the dialogue and the actor's expressions at times just seem too formulaic to be believable. Also, as the review by Robert C. shows, the audience can easily get confused, maybe because the two main female roles look too much alike in our eyes? So let me set Robert C.'s confusion straight: It was Srisudachan, High Consort of King Chai Raja (the one who previously had the child regent killed), who poisoned her husband in order to install her lover of U-Thang blood on the throne. She is the anti-heroine of the movie. Our real heroine, Suriyothai, who married the Prince of Tien, died with a clear conscience. Full Review »