Empire of the Sun

Empire of the Sun Image
Metascore
62

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

User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 71 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Empire of the Sun—based on J. G. Ballard's autobiographical novel—tells the story of a boy, James Graham, whose privileged life is upturned by the Japanese invasion of Shanghai, December 8, 1941. Separated from his parents, he is eventually captured, and taken to Soo Chow confinement camp,Empire of the Sun—based on J. G. Ballard's autobiographical novel—tells the story of a boy, James Graham, whose privileged life is upturned by the Japanese invasion of Shanghai, December 8, 1941. Separated from his parents, he is eventually captured, and taken to Soo Chow confinement camp, next to a captured Chinese airfield. Amidst the sickness and food shortages in the camp, Jim attempts to reconstruct his former life, all the while bringing spirit and dignity to those around him. [Warner Bros. Pictures] Expand

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 22
  2. Negative: 1 out of 22
  1. Portland Oregonian
    Reviewed by: Ted Mahar
    Jun 4, 2016
    100
    Empire of the Sun is such a grand, successful blend of epic filmmaking and personal drama, it's hard to believe Steven Spielberg made it. [11 Dec 1987, p.G15]
  2. Tampa Bay Times
    Reviewed by: Hal Lipper
    Jun 4, 2016
    90
    Spielberg's Empire of the Sun dispels with the sugar coating that turned Alice Walker's searing novel about racial and sexual subjugation into "The Color Purple: The Coffee Table Edition." Yet, Spielberg retains a sense of innocence in this ambitious, visionary tale. [10 Dec 1987, p.6]
  3. Reviewed by: Darren Bignell
    80
    Spielberg's technical ability is very clear, with much to appreciate on close examination.
  4. Boston Globe
    Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    63
    Empire of the Sun is an imperfect film, but at its best it's grand and haunting in ways that only a movie can be. [11 Dec 1987]
  5. Christian Science Monitor
    Reviewed by: David Sterritt
    Jun 4, 2016
    58
    Spielberg has filmed Empire of the Sun with great care, paying keen attention to every detail of its time and place. If the film ultimately seems flat and superficial, it's because Spielberg just isn't the right filmmaker for this kind of tough historical subject. [9 Dec 1987, p.21]
  6. The pseudomystical vagueness that seems to be Spielberg's stock-in-trade stifles most of the particularity of the source.
  7. 30
    Behind the trademark fancy package is a troubling sensibility, too. Spielberg seems unable to come to terms with anything real.

See all 22 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 8
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 8
  3. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. EricR
    Apr 23, 2008
    10
    This movie has haunted me for years as a solemn, heart-rending experience. Jim's reaction to the appearance of the P-51s and his final This movie has haunted me for years as a solemn, heart-rending experience. Jim's reaction to the appearance of the P-51s and his final reunion are unforgettable. I can't think of anything NOT to like about this movie. Expand
  2. DvijenP.
    Jun 10, 2008
    10
    I don't know what the stupid critics were talking about, that movie was awesome, another one of Speilburg's great works.
  3. KarenS.
    Jun 27, 2008
    10
    This movie is one of my all-time favorites. It is, indeed, "haunting: as the above person mentioned. Christian Bale's performance is This movie is one of my all-time favorites. It is, indeed, "haunting: as the above person mentioned. Christian Bale's performance is amazing, especially given that he was just a child at the time. There is such depth to his character-what he says and doesn't say throughout the movie. I highly recommend this film. Expand
  4. BillM.
    Jan 10, 2009
    10
    An awesome movie with a truly mesmirizing performance by Christian Bale.
  5. MarinaM
    Nov 15, 2009
    10
    Gorgeous and touching. Definitely one of my all time favorite movies.
  6. KyleG.
    Aug 15, 2007
    9
    I really enjoyed this movie and i think it's great.
  7. Aug 31, 2010
    9
    A beautifully woven tale with historical significance. Steven at his very best in my opinion. War viewed from the sidelines during simplerA beautifully woven tale with historical significance. Steven at his very best in my opinion. War viewed from the sidelines during simpler times but no less brutal. Expand

See all 8 User Reviews

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