Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 18
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 18
  3. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    88
    A miniature masterpiece of documentary observation.
  2. 100
    It's one of those extraordinary films, like "Hoop Dreams," that tells a story the makers could not possibly have anticipated in advance. It works like stunning, grieving fiction.
  3. Fan's camera moves sinuously through these people's lives and gives a human face to a national panorama.
  4. This is essential viewing for understanding our world.
  5. The Chinese economic miracle, however, came at a wrenching human cost, one that is beautifully explored in an exceptional documentary called Last Train Home.
  6. 85
    Frequently moving and quietly enlightening, Last Train Home is about love and exploitation, sacrifice and endurance.
  7. Reviewed by: G. Allen Johnson
    100
    Fan has visual panache - Last Train Home has some gorgeously composed shots - but he also has something that can't be taught: The patience and understanding to allow a family to tell their heartbreaking story in their own way.
  8. 83
    Sometimes the story is so much like a fiction feature-complete with explosive family arguments and pointed cross-cutting between the free-spirited Qin and her beaten-down folks-that it feels exploitative, as though Lixin were turning real people into characters.
  9. 100
    Mr. Fan's documentary is informed by a melancholy humanism, and finds unexpected beauty in almost unbearably harsh circumstances. It tells the story of a family caught, and possibly crushed, between the past and the future - a story that, on its own, is moving, even heartbreaking. Multiplied by 130 million, it becomes a terrifying and sobering panorama of the present.
  10. 100
    The attention to visuals is above and beyond what most vérité is capable of; doing double duty as the film's cinematographer, Fan demonstrates a pitch-perfect photojournalistic eye.
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 23 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Jan 25, 2011
    10
    Lixin Fan's film retains an extraordinary relationship with it's direct subjects; a struggling family, and the tensions of some 130 million other peasants toiling in similar fashion, trying to make a living in the enormous industrial complex that is modern China. Juxtaposing the intimate, enchanting portrait of the Zhang family with the action footage of them lost in the utterly insane annual event that constitutes 'goin home for the holidays in China was a masterstroke. This, thankfully, is one of those documentary films that never feels like it intrudes, so much so that a sense of voyeurism crept up on me. I found the cinematography so fluid and captivating that the solitary occasion wherein the tension of a cameras glaring presence is brought to bare became an unforgettable scene of wrought emotion. I actually had to press pause. This film is a real achievement in Cinéma vérité, from a special artist, and an important one too. Full Review »
  2. Jan 17, 2011
    9
    This film is a wonderfully paced and visually stunning portrait of a cultural phenomenon - economic migration within China. The struggle of one family is shown rather than explained, with snippets of conversation as a chorus to the imagery. A sensory treat. Full Review »