Michelle Yeoh turns 58 today! We must say that she looks as regal and radiant as ever. With over three decades of experience in the film industry, the Malaysian actress has garnered a slew of commendable films under her belt. Although she got her start in the action genre, Michelle Yeoh went on to star in melodramas, animation features and, most recently, landed the part of Eleanor Young in the blockbuster-hit romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians.
As a tribute to the birthday girl's impressive long-standing career, we've rounded up must-watch Michelle Yeo movies.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
An oldie but a goodie, this two-decade-old film remains one of the most beloved Michelle Yeo movies to this day. In an era where wuxia films (a movie genre about "martial heroes") are dominated by male actors, the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon gave an unforgettable fighting scene featuring two women. One of which, of course, was Michelle who not only had to learn the stunts but also had to practice speaking in "precise" Mandarin for the movie.
Why you'll like it: The fighting scenes are elegant and entrancing. They're a different, refreshing change from the gory thug fights or war scenes that are common in action films. The plot is riveting and unpredictable; the major plot twist is so subtle and smart, too.
Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)
While the movie itself received mixed reviews, Michelle's performance was praised. In this film, she played Mameha, an experienced geisha who takes the protagonist Chiyo under her wing to help her become a full-fledged and successful geisha.
Why you'll like it: Although it's a historical fiction that must be taken with a grain of salt, it's a cinematographically charming interpretation of a lost era and intriguing customs that reign in the world of geishas.
Reign of Assassins (2010)
Another remarkable Wuxia film starring Michelle Yeo, the Reign of Assassins packs a lot of sword-fighting action scenes. But unlike her previous martial arts-themed movies, this one has a touch of humour which makes it all the more enjoyable to watch. In a review by The Hollywood Reporter, the film was described as "beautifully balanced story finds time for humour and a piercingly romantic finale". Sounds like a treat!
Why you'll like it: After making Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, this movie showcases Michelle's acting range — from inciting humour to showing her badass stunts.
The Lady (2011)
A movie depicting the life and rise to icon status of the now controversial Aung San Suu Kyi, the role was a challenging one for Michelle. Playing the real-life Burmese politician was no piece of cake. For starters, she had to go on a diet to achieve the real-life character's petite silhouette. Next, she had to learn Burmese in order to play the role authentically. On top of all that, she had to study a whole lot of materials about Aung San Suu Kyi. Knowing this, it's not a surprise that she nailed this speech scene.
Why you'll like it: This movie will give a brief background on why Aung San Suu Kyi became an icon, and provide an idea of why she's largely held accountable for the unfortunate current events that Myanmar is facing.
Last Christmas (2019)
Although Michelle Yeo isn't the main lead in this movie, she still plays a significant part alongside protagonists Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding (who was her co-star in Crazy Rich Asians). It's a cheesy holiday movie, that's for sure, but who doesn't need a little lighthearted flick now and then?
Why you'll like it: It's an entertaining film that will give you lots of laughter and warm feelings. Plus, you get to see Michelle Yeo show her romance acting skills and comedy chops.
Which of these Michelle Yeo movies are you most interested to watch?
(Cover photo credit: Sony Pictures Releasing, Columbia Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, Amblin Entertainment, Red Wagon Entertainment)
Next, check out our Netflix picks for this month.