Mao's Last Dancer

Metascore
55

Mixed or average reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 23
  2. Negative: 1 out of 23
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    60
    Director Bruce Beresford ("Driving Miss Daisy") knows how to tug heartstrings but as he moves the inspirational material toward its tear-jerker finale, it's often hampered by awkward melodrama.
  2. It's hard to know whether to take it to task as a film critic or as a dance critic. It isn't that it fails on either level - it's a serviceable movie - but it neither attempts nor achieves much of value.
  3. 60
    The degree to which they are willing to share their bodies with the world, seeming to reach out for it with each impossible extension, drawing it in with every reeling arabesque, suggests a desire for engagement that is visceral, human, and true in all the ways this film is not.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Brunette
    60
    Like most films in this underdog genre, the emotional manipulation of the audience is constant and obvious.
  5. 50
    There are nice cameos by Joan Chen and Kyle MacLachlan as Li's mother and lawyer, respectively.
  6. 50
    It's artless, obvious, and at times insultingly exaggerated. And yet the real-life story of Chinese ballet dancer Li Cunxin, based on his autobiography, is often dramatic enough to win its way past the silly trappings.
  7. Reviewed by: Brian Miller
    50
    Based on the memoirs of Li Cunxin, Mao's Last Dancer means well, but it stumbles between genres.
  8. A dramatic true story has been made into a diffident biopic.
  9. 50
    While this is hardly "Breaker Morant," it's nowhere near as mawkish or cloying as it could have been.
  10. 40
    The performance sequences feel intimate and exhilarating-but in the end, Li's journey is compelling only when he's onstage.
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 10 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Oct 3, 2010
    9
    This beautiful film is based on true events. A young Chinese boy is selected to be trained as a ballet dancer. He travels to the US as anThis beautiful film is based on true events. A young Chinese boy is selected to be trained as a ballet dancer. He travels to the US as an adult and becomes a star. When he decides he wants to stay here, it ignites an international furor. The performances are all solid and the story (although somewhat predictable) is told with skill and emotion by director Bruce Beresford. NOTE: I actually saw this in Sweden, but had a translator to help with the Chinese parts. Full Review »
  2. PHL
    Sep 16, 2010
    10
    I agree with Rex Reed. This is a masterpiece. I do not believe the audience is being manipulated. After all, this is based on a true story.I agree with Rex Reed. This is a masterpiece. I do not believe the audience is being manipulated. After all, this is based on a true story. It's a moving story and depicts the triumph of art, freedom and knowing your own heart. Chi Cao is magnificant. Full Review »
  3. Nov 9, 2011
    6
    A well-made, well-acted and interesting adaptation of the true story that is just as good as the book.