Mixed or average reviews - based on 7 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 7
  2. Negative: 2 out of 7
  1. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Chinese director Ann Hu follows-up her tepid 2000 debut "Shadow Magic" with another luscious historical drama that, thankfully, is a lot more interesting. The plot is no less melodramatic, but here melodramatics work along with the film's theme, not against it.
  2. 70
    Hu, a Chinese-American immigrant who made a mid-career switch from business to filmmaking, approaches these characters with genuine passion and compassion, and her evident talent shines through the timeworn material. Acting by all three principals is tremendous.
  3. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    The story seems to be occurring in a China of the imagination, an airless place at once sensually ripe and icily formal. Like “Far From Heaven,” it denies its characters and viewers the ecstatic release they crave.
  4. If aesthetics are a prime factor in your movie choices, you may get something out of Ann Hu's overwrought, but beautifully atmospheric, period romance.
  5. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    An unappealing, stiff melodrama.
  6. 38
    So beautifully filmed (as if through a gauze curtain), it is especially sad that the script doesn't measure up.
  7. Reviewed by: Aaron Hillis
    The film plays like the work of a fifth-generation Chinese hack faking a lavish Hollywood saga on an indie budget: It's all soft focuses, sax flourishes, and silky slo-mos.

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