Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 10
  2. Negative: 1 out of 10
  1. A tender, visually stunning comedy-drama.
  2. 75
    Movies don't come any more charming than Mongolian Ping Pong.
  3. 75
    In Mongolian Ping Pong the point is to look under the majestic vistas and see value in ordinary things -- ping-pong balls included.
  4. Takes a humorously gentle approach to the culture clash between the primitive and the modern. With wonderfully natural performances by the children, this is a family movie that crosses cultural boundaries in a celebration of the magical possibilities inherent in everyday objects.
  5. Much more so than any movie actually about spiritual discipline, the new Chinese film Mongolian Ping Pong could be a meditational object-- if, perhaps, it wasn't a sneaky comedy and, to boot, one of the most breathtaking cinematic records of landscape and sky ever filmed.
  6. Although its leisurely pace might be a bit tough going for restless Westerners, Mongolian Ping Pong is the kind of film that should rightly be seen by children, not just adventurous adults.
  7. This is one of the most becalming films ever made. The grasslands seem oddly serene, and to watch them is to feel your pulse rate flatten out -- yet another aspect of Mongolian Ping Pong's transcendent charm.
  8. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    A charming but overextended yarn about some prairie tykes who mistake a table-tennis ball for a glowing pearl from the gods.
  9. This sounds like a slender premise on which to hang a feature, but director Ning Hao is more interested in ethnography and landscapes than narrative and often holds our interest by concentrating on how folklore, technology--motorbikes, cars, trucks, films, TV--and imagination affect a nomadic way of life.
  10. Reviewed by: G. Allen Johnson
    Hao doesn't seem to have a point of view. Mongolian Ping-Pong is episodic and meandering, with several tedious stretches.
User Score

No user score yet- Awaiting 1 more rating

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. EdK.
    Feb 5, 2007
    The San Francisco Chronicle review has this movie pegged: episodic, meandering, and tedious. I was hoping for something clever, set out on the steppes of outer Mongolia. Well I got the Mongolia part, just nothing very clever. I understand that subtitles change things a bit, but the "dialogue" (such as it was) was terrible (did the kids write their own lines?). And the storyline doesn't ever really get off the ground. A better title for this movie would have been, "Random Goings-On in Mongolia, with a Ping Pong Ball." I give it a 4 just for the scenery and because I like independent movies; really, it's about a 2. Full Review »
  2. ChadS.
    Nov 9, 2006
    A coke bottle falls from the sky; a ping-pong ball floats down a river; yes, "Mongolian Ping-Pong" at times recall the South African import "The Gods Must be Crazy". Both films share the concept of a foreign artifact which transforms the culture of its nomadic practitioners. In this world without Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, or any sort of formal wonderment to entertain a young child, Bilike believes that his ping-pong ball is a glowing pearl. "Mongolian Ping-Pong" is about how children from all walks of life find magic in their prosaic lives. When Bilike and his friends learn that their glowing pearl is actually a ping-pong ball, they launch a short-lived journey that recalls the South African film, and unintentionally, "The Lord of the Rings". Like those homebody hobbits, these rural boys have no idea how far a far-off place really is. "Mongolian Ping-Pong" moves at a snail's pace, but not off-puttingly so. Full Review »