Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 18
  2. Negative: 1 out of 18
  1. Iwai's ambitious drama is strikingly shot, poignantly acted by a splendid young cast, and enriched by surprising use of Debussy classics on the soundtrack.
  2. Gorgeously shot tableaux of random adolescent brutality are interrupted by flashes of computer garble and chat-room talk, backed by ''Lily's'' music, with its blend of Debussy-like arpeggios and Enya-like sighing.
  3. It's a uniquely lonely film, and one of the year's most memorable.
  4. 90
    A sprawling and adventurous tale of teen alienation, might just be the movie that pushes the Japanese new wave out of the film-geek ghetto.
  5. 88
    Awash in strangeness, a poem that details what it's like to be 13 at the end of a millennium.
  6. Captures the pain and desperation of adolescent powerlessness and humiliation with powerful intimacy, strung out to almost 2 1/2 lazy hours of stories that wander through an ever-widening group of characters.
  7. Continually jarring. Although the film's narrative thread may prove chronically elusive, Iwai's depiction of what life can be like for far too many teens comes across loud and clear.
  8. 80
    One of the most haunting, viciously honest coming-of-age films in recent memory.
  9. 80
    Drifting through time and space without firmly situating the viewer, Iwai's elliptical style requires patience, but also a willingness to be carried along by its gorgeous, dreamy lyricism.
  10. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    For all its digressions and occasional flat moments, Iwai's movie is a remarkable, acutely involving one, working on an emotional level that can only really be expressed through music -- a strong component in all of Iwai's pics.
  11. Reviewed by: Jonathan Curiel
    Requires some patience. Once you get into its rhythm -- including the long flashbacks and intermittent use of the screen as an Internet chat room -- the movie becomes a heady experience.
  12. There's an eerie coolness to this film that's quite unsettling and un-Oshima-like. Rather lengthy, it requires patience. But adventurous moviegoers aren't likely to mind.
  13. 70
    Much of All About Lily Chou-Chou is mesmerizing: some of its plaintiveness could make you weep. If only Mr. Iwai trusted the material enough.
  14. 70
    Shunji Iwae's film began life as an interactive online "novel" and unfolds in a series of achronological vignettes whose cumulative effect is chilling.
  15. Although way too long at 146 minutes and extremely confusing in structure, the story of a lonely, picked-on eighth-grader (Hayato Ichihara) who finds refuge in the ethereal music of a Bjork-like pop singer packs a solid punch.
  16. 63
    Kicks into high gear in its final 45 minutes, when the singer's fans descend on one of her concerts. It's worth the wait.
  17. 50
    So enigmatic, oblique and meandering that it's like coded religious texts that requires monks to decipher.
  18. The concept was interesting and charming in "Love Letters," up to a point, but here it quickly becomes repetitive, obvious, and dull.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 19 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 13
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 13
  3. Negative: 3 out of 13
  1. ChadS.
    Jul 11, 2006
    After "All About Lily Chou Chou" pulls a switch-a-roo with its principal protagonist, and gives us a second boy to carry us down the stretch, After "All About Lily Chou Chou" pulls a switch-a-roo with its principal protagonist, and gives us a second boy to carry us down the stretch, it does take some time to adjust. A potentially great film is watered down slightly by a purposeful lack of clarity, which seems unnecessary because we already have the on-screen text to give the film a diffusive quality. But the soundtrack saves the day. "All About Lily Chou Chou", unlike any film I've ever seen, pins down the sacrosanct relationship between alienated teenagers and their music. Told with a little more convention, without necesarily sacrificing any narrative sophistication, this film could've been the equivalent of "The 400 Blows". Full Review »