User Score
6.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 104 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 72 out of 104
  2. Negative: 30 out of 104
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  1. aaw
    Jan 6, 2008
    10
    "Lust, Caution," is a subtle, exquisite, touching masterpiece. My favorite movie of the year. Beautiful and painful. I nearly missed seeing this film-- don't make that mistake-- see it on the big screen-- definitely worth it.
  2. YUW.
    Dec 20, 2007
    10
    It's a good movie.
  3. MikolaZ.
    Sep 28, 2007
    10
    Amazing... subtle... powerful.
  4. JodieF.
    Sep 30, 2007
    10
    Lee has perfectly captured the details, textures, sights and sounds of a China caught between East and West, occupied by an ancient enemy and quaking on the eve of an earth-shaking revolution.
  5. AdamM.
    Jan 23, 2008
    10
    A lot of the subtlety are possibly lost on viewers who aren't familiar with the idea that there are many Chinese languages, which is perhaps one reason they complain about the first half being boring, or limp as the Salon reviewer wrote. The heroine was originally from Shanghai (speak Shanghainese) was posing as someone who grew up in Hong Kong (speak Cantonese). With no exposure of A lot of the subtlety are possibly lost on viewers who aren't familiar with the idea that there are many Chinese languages, which is perhaps one reason they complain about the first half being boring, or limp as the Salon reviewer wrote. The heroine was originally from Shanghai (speak Shanghainese) was posing as someone who grew up in Hong Kong (speak Cantonese). With no exposure of the other language an native Shanghainese (a person that is born in Shanghai) wouldn't understand a word in Cantonese (as in the language), and vice versa. In one scene the heroin and the wives were listening to ??, an art form that originated from Suzhou, a province that borders Shanghai. Suzhou's culture and language is v similar to Shanghai while quite different from Hong Kong's. You can see the heroin was tense all through, pretending that she doesn't really know anything a word of it. The equivalent in terms of European languages would be a Portuguese girl posing as a French girl, sitting through a Spanish play while pretending that she doesn't understand a word of it. Expand
  6. TimC.
    Mar 10, 2008
    10
    This is a great film if you understand Chinese language and the historic background. It kept me focused throughout the entire movie. Ang Lee knew that there could be cultural barrier for westerners watching this movie, for he said he cared most about how Taiwanese and Chinese people viewed the film. Sense of patriotism exhibited during the Japanese occupation and Chinese feeling about This is a great film if you understand Chinese language and the historic background. It kept me focused throughout the entire movie. Ang Lee knew that there could be cultural barrier for westerners watching this movie, for he said he cared most about how Taiwanese and Chinese people viewed the film. Sense of patriotism exhibited during the Japanese occupation and Chinese feeling about traitors is not easily appreciated. By the way, it is largely based on a true story. Expand
  7. jorjaL.
    Mar 9, 2008
    10
    Those who didn't "get" this story seemed to have REALLY not gotten it. This is a truly beautiful movie, deeply touching and dramatic. It wasn't a popcorn action movie for people whose attention span can't make it past a 30-second TV ad.
  8. michellec
    Oct 17, 2007
    10
    Simply Brilliant.
  9. RobertG.
    Sep 27, 2007
    10
    Best film by Lee yet. Beautiful and full of emotion.
  10. ChrisK.
    Sep 27, 2007
    10
    A gripping and absorbing movie. Easily one of the best of the year. I don't think the critics who called this 'lugubrious' or 'monotonous' saw the same movie I did.
  11. LoraL
    Oct 22, 2007
    9
    The movie was seductive and I became very wrapped up in the plot. I don't understand a couple of the comments about how raping a woman and giving her a diamond will make her fall in love with you. This unjustly summarizes what actually happened. By simplifying the plot in this crude manner, you ignore the psychological aspects. Mr. Yee and Wong's relationship was presumably The movie was seductive and I became very wrapped up in the plot. I don't understand a couple of the comments about how raping a woman and giving her a diamond will make her fall in love with you. This unjustly summarizes what actually happened. By simplifying the plot in this crude manner, you ignore the psychological aspects. Mr. Yee and Wong's relationship was presumably Wong's only relationship and it's understandable that she would develop feelings for Mr. Yee. She even said that although she hated him, she could feel him slowly creeping into her heart. I really enjoyed the film despite the sub-titles. It's one of the better films I've watched this year. Expand
  12. MacyT.
    Feb 7, 2008
    9
    Unlike the previous films directed by Mr Lee, Ang. This film give me a strong sense of heaviness and tension. I was moved and I had complex feelings about that. It's certainly not a film about erotics. It's a film showing the love and lust, the human struggling and strikes for survival in that period of time.
  13. MathewB.
    Oct 14, 2007
    9
    After a slow start, a really good movie develops. Very, very subtle with a lot to say. Challenging, but worth it. Great performances.
  14. JoeU.
    Dec 16, 2007
    9
    I loved this movie. It combines beautiful production values, great acting and directing, and a wonderful story, with nuanced phsycological depictions of the characters. Frankly, one of my favorites, and a memorable film for a long time to come.
  15. KathleenJ.
    Mar 28, 2008
    8
    I liked the juxtaposition of political vs. sexual passion, intimacy vs. isolationism, and intellectual vs. emotional connections. Also beautifully and convincingly filmed.
  16. ChadS.
    Oct 21, 2007
    8
    Ultimately, "Lust, Caution" received a NC-17 rating by the MPAA because its simulated(?) love scenes are actually hot, not merely graphic. All those positions Yee(Tony Leung) and Wang(Wei Tang) engage in has the unintentional effect of evoking Trey Parker and Matt Stone's "Team America: World Police". This time, nobody's laughing. In the darkness that looms around Wei's Ultimately, "Lust, Caution" received a NC-17 rating by the MPAA because its simulated(?) love scenes are actually hot, not merely graphic. All those positions Yee(Tony Leung) and Wang(Wei Tang) engage in has the unintentional effect of evoking Trey Parker and Matt Stone's "Team America: World Police". This time, nobody's laughing. In the darkness that looms around Wei's orifice, some audience members may try to determine if the sex is indeed simulated, because Leung(who must be having the time of his life) thrusts with conviction. The sex must be emotionally satisfying to the point of having a transcending effect on both lovers. When they're in talking mode, to my recollection, neither lover ever laughs, or even cracks a smile. "Lust, Caution" is, quite literally, "The Spy Who Shagged Me". Wang is drawn to this tyrant as a sort of surrogate for a fellow comrade who declares his love too late. "Lust, Caution" should've developed this storyline a little better so the audience could better feel its ramifications. If Wang knew he wasn't gay, but just shy about his feelings for her, she could've engaged in the deceitful lovemaking with a sense of detachment. Expand
  17. Hollyc.
    Mar 28, 2008
    8
    Lust,Caution is definitely worth seeing if you haven't already. Incredible immersion into WWII China and a group of young college dramatists who take an active role in resisting the Japanese occupation--but more importantly, the Chinese upper class who collaborate with the Japanese. Both Tony Leung and Tang Wei are absolutely stellar here. The characters these two become just stick Lust,Caution is definitely worth seeing if you haven't already. Incredible immersion into WWII China and a group of young college dramatists who take an active role in resisting the Japanese occupation--but more importantly, the Chinese upper class who collaborate with the Japanese. Both Tony Leung and Tang Wei are absolutely stellar here. The characters these two become just stick with you--along with their complex relationship/story. The sex scenes were amazing--though I don't think they were matched with the same dramatic/suspense --it's almost as if they were too subtle with much of it--that's just my opinion, though I know others thought it was overt enough. I thought the ending, particularly, was perfect. Expand
  18. Feb 6, 2013
    8
    -tension builds in Leung's silences, Tang's glances, spy angst, and Japanese occupation, then explosive in sex and murder
    -title themes reflect emotions of the time, possibly Japanese regional ambition and international diplomacy (?)
    -good substories of acting, mahjong, and women's roles
    -big historical events not detailed or tightly tied to plot development
  19. CjK.
    Oct 5, 2007
    7
    Acting was superb. plot abit draggy.
  20. Feb 19, 2014
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. //Spoiler//
    Tony Leung was wonderful but Tang Wei was brilliant, you were able to feel her innocence, a naivee girl abandoned by every man without much say until she meets Mr.Yee. This time she choose to sacrifice herself for him out of love. These were characters with many flaws, broken human beings but love was their escape. Ang Lee carefully weaves you into their psychology and if you are willing can see that they were two very lonely people that found each other in the cold world that they were a part of. In each other they found a piece of themselves. They were able to feel and live again, even if it was for a short while. The ending has to be that way because that is the kind of survival world Mr.Yee lives in. Everyone does what they are suppose to do and take the consequences for their actions.
    Expand
  21. EdG.
    Oct 7, 2007
    6
    [***SPOILERS***] Wait - so he beats her, anally rapes her, then gives her a diamond ring, and that's why she falls in love with him? Enough to rat out her friends, getting them and herself killed in the process? The cinematography was gorgeous, the production design flawless, and the acting usually superb, but - maybe I'm missing the boat because I don't find sadism erotic [***SPOILERS***] Wait - so he beats her, anally rapes her, then gives her a diamond ring, and that's why she falls in love with him? Enough to rat out her friends, getting them and herself killed in the process? The cinematography was gorgeous, the production design flawless, and the acting usually superb, but - maybe I'm missing the boat because I don't find sadism erotic and I don't think a gift of expensive jewelry is a reason for loving someone, but her motivation eluded me. Maybe without the initial rape scene I could have believed that the sex was just too hot for her not to succumb, but I found the idea of a woman falling in love with her rapist revolting. Expand
  22. DamienA.
    Jan 29, 2008
    6
    There is no way this is a 10 movie!! This was mutton dressed up as lamb! The climax was laughable in its simplistic cliche ridden take on the two main characters.. Mediocrity that gets plaudits makes me so mad! If this is a 10 movie then Chinatown or even Ang Lee's The Ice Storm must be over 40 out of ten each!
  23. BobB.
    Oct 17, 2007
    3
    Unwatchable. I walked out after 8 minutes. extreme wordiness just doesn't work with subtitles.
  24. RebeccaS.
    Nov 24, 2007
    2
    Visually a beautiful movie, but pretty much long and boring. The violent, graphic, and otherwise mean-spirited sex really didn't do much for the story except add that extra 40 minutes. A real disappointment compared to Lee's other movies.
  25. JonN.
    Oct 15, 2007
    1
    A very disappointing movie! I was offended on behalf of Asian women everywhere! The movie perpetuates dangerous stereotypes about Asian women, namely that if you rape them and then buy them a big diamond, they will be willing to betray their country and condemn themselves and their friends to death. This especially disappointing in light of the fact that in reality the Chinese woman spy A very disappointing movie! I was offended on behalf of Asian women everywhere! The movie perpetuates dangerous stereotypes about Asian women, namely that if you rape them and then buy them a big diamond, they will be willing to betray their country and condemn themselves and their friends to death. This especially disappointing in light of the fact that in reality the Chinese woman spy in question didn't betray her country-she failed in her mission, only because her gun jammed! The truth would have made a much more compelling story! Do we really have to sit through another misogynistic movie which portrays Asian women as mindless sex-toys? Shame on you Ang Lee! I would expect this kind of drivel from Hollywood-but you are an Asian man! Professor Jon. Collapse
Metascore
61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 35
  2. Negative: 2 out of 35
  1. 63
    There's too much caution and not enough lust.
  2. Reviewed by: Damon Wise
    80
    A beautifully rendered, long, drawn-out but ultimately very satisfying story of betrayal and revenge in an uneasy setting of wartime paranoia.
  3. 88
    The sex is REALLY hot. Not hardcore pornographic (at least by my definition of the term) but close.