User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 9 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 9
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 9
  3. Negative: 1 out of 9
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  1. RichardF.
    Aug 31, 2005
    9
    Powerful setting, both emotionally and physically . . . charming cast . . . familiar truth (cf. Educating Rita, e.g.): art can change a person utterly, and not always without cost.
  2. MyronM.
    Sep 19, 2005
    10
    Beautiful story, beautiful scenery, beautiful girls, what more could an old guy want. Makes me want to visit China.
  3. mwench
    Aug 14, 2005
    9
    A lovely story, unusual, beautiful to watch, especially the closing frames. A lucid glance at politically misguided philosophy resulting in pointless circumstances. In the end all beings revert to expected human conduct and seem much the nobler for it. Makes me want to crack open a few classics given the inspiration they provide to the characters.
  4. JulienK.
    Jul 15, 2009
    9
    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 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. Expand
  5. ChadS.
    May 14, 2006
    7
    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 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. Expand
  6. Nov 2, 2011
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This movie is TERRIBLE and GULLIBLE. Just Fit for Crazy person!!! Communism, Communism, Communism!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Expand
Metascore
65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: Patrick Z. McGavin
    50
    The ethereal private moments and inspired passages are beautifully shot by Jean-Marie Dreujou, but Dai never quite organizes the material dramatically, and the tone is too often jagged and disruptive.
  2. Reviewed by: David Stratton
    70
    A visually lush and very Westernized vision of life in a remote Chinese village in the early 1970s.
  3. Reviewed by: Ed Park
    70
    Though the film lacks some of the paper incarnation's subtlety, Dai's infidelity to his own text keeps things interesting. He busts the book's brief time frame, tweaks countless plot points, and tops it all off with a titanic metaphor not found in his own pages.