Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 9 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Based on the international best-seller, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress is set in the early 1970's during the later stages of China's "Cultural Revolution," as two city-bred teenage best friends, Luo (Kun Chen) and Ma (Ye Liu), are sent to a backward mountainous region for Maoist re-education. (Empire Pictures) Collapse
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. A funny, sad and absolutely lovely film.
  3. If the movie is straightforward and predictable in its attitude, it also exudes a sort of documentary lyricism.
  4. Reviewed by: David Stratton
    A visually lush and very Westernized vision of life in a remote Chinese village in the early 1970s.
  5. Reviewed by: Ed Park
    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.
  6. 60
    Sure, Balzac meanders at too leisurely a pace. But the actors are charming; the story sweet
  7. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Demonstrating just how different literature and filmmaking can be, filmmaker-turned-writer-turned filmmaker Dai Sijie botches an adaptation of his own best-selling short novel.

See all 22 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 1 out of 6
  1. MyronM.
    Sep 19, 2005
    Beautiful story, beautiful scenery, beautiful girls, what more could an old guy want. Makes me want to visit China.
  2. RichardF.
    Aug 31, 2005
    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. Expand
  3. 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. Expand
  4. 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. Expand
  5. Nov 2, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This movie is TERRIBLE and GULLIBLE. Just Fit for Crazy person!!! Communism, Communism, Communism!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Expand

See all 6 User Reviews