Universal acclaim - based on 23 Critics What's this?

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Mixed or average reviews- based on 47 Ratings

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  • Summary: A highlight at the 2007 Cannes, Toronto, and New York film festivals, Flight of the Red Balloon is the latest masterpiece from Hou Hsiao Hsien. Inspired by Albert Lamorisse's 1956 Academy Award-winning classic, Flight of the Red Balloon, Hou expands on that film's key elements--a young boy, a red balloon, and Paris--to weave an achingly beautiful tale about the mysteries of familial bonds and the lingering effects the past has on us all. Simon, a precocious young boy, must deal with the increasing fragility of his mother, the loving yet preoccupied Suzanne. Completely immersed in her own tribulations, Suzanne hires Song, a Taiwanese film student, to help care for Simon. Together with Song, a unique extended family is formed, utterly interdependent yet lost in separate thoughts and dreams mirrored by a delicate, shiny red balloon. (IFC First Take) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 23
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 23
  3. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. A gem made by a filmmaker who loves life, and knows how to capture its ebb and flow and sweet complication.
  2. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Because it's one of the most beautiful films ever. Because it's a work of art on the order of a poem by Yeats or a painting by Rothko.
  3. Hou's first film made outside of Asia is his most emotionally turbulent, yet he remains, like the balloon, outside looking in, a compassionate but distant observer capturing it all with a graceful restraint and floating beauty that ultimately carried me away with it.
  4. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    The subject is the privileged state of childhood itself - how we're all lucky to have had it and how it so easily floats away from our grasp.
  5. Hou intends to celebrate the classic 1956 children's film "The Red Balloon," and he has done a beautiful job. In fact, he may well have created a future classic of his own.
  6. Too much of this film is attenuated and vague, but it has moments of deep melancholy.
  7. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Not surprisingly, we're left with characters that feel only half sketched and fail to resonate on their own -- but onto which much can be read by Hou's most ardent fans -- in a poetic looking film that's ultimately as inflated and empty as the balloon itself.

See all 23 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 21
  2. Negative: 8 out of 21

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