Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Sweet, funny, sad and profound -- the sort of film that becomes more remarkable when you realize it's based on someone's real life.
  2. An oddity: an adaptation of a popular novel co-written and directed by the novelist himself. It's also a fine, gentle film love story and a cinematic tribute to the power and manifold benefits of communications between different cultures and nations.
  3. A funny, sad and absolutely lovely film.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 9 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 1 out of 6
  1. Nov 2, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. This movie is TERRIBLE and GULLIBLE. Just Fit for Crazy person!!! Communism, Communism, Communism!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Full Review »
  2. JulienK.
    Jul 15, 2009
    An invaluably sad but exceptionally beautiful work of art realistically depicting instability and mutability of all things in modern life. It's inevitably fluid like nature of human evolution between one époque to another. I can feel ethereal touch of Author's filial love to his mother country china. It is easy to see that the Author was torn between his deep seated love for China and Ambition of prosperity on his chosen land (France) at the moment of his life time decision making. This is something that not many understand unless you are forced to leave from your homeland and love ones for a cause. I have left Japan , Kyoto and a noble born beloved fiancé along with almost all things I perceived exquisite at that time for an ambitious cause. Augmented by an outstanding soundtracks with his genius touch in a perfect synchronisation with emotion portrayed in screenplay. Since I have played harpsichord continuo part for Haendel's tragic opera such as Alcina, Otone and Radamisto for student soprano singersduring reharsals in the past, I can readily feel Author's masterful quality of refined artistic mind in every scene. This is a second film that I bought for my collection of Dai Sijie's works. I must admit that he is a genius of screenplay depicting moments of painful separation. Who else can reproduce so vividly on the screen with such poetic toutch today? Julien Kujo, Palo Alto, California. Full Review »
  3. ChadS.
    May 14, 2006
    Rather than just watch two boys read from Balzac's "Cousin Bette", a more interesting strategy might've been to show us how two Chinese provincials would visualize period piece-France. We never really get a sense that these boys were transformed by an infusion of otherworldly words. With the tailor, we do. The way literature inspires him is when the film truly comes alive. For Luo (Kun Chen) and Ma (Ye Liu), we're absolutely sure that they love the Little Chinese Seamstress (Xun Chou), but as for Balzac, because the filmmaker inadequately shows us their passion for literature, they come off as poseurs who use the books as a tool of seduction. In the Dai Siije novel, you don't think about "Jules and Jim" in the sticks. Full Review »