Mixed or average reviews - based on 22 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 51 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: An unprincipled American is caught in the turmoil of China during the 1937 invasion by Japan. Seeking refuge in a Catholic Church, he meets up with a courtesan desperate to protect a group of schoolgirls from the vicious onslaught. Putting aside his usual selfish tendencies, the American risks everything to help them. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 22
  2. Negative: 2 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: Pete Hammond
    Dec 29, 2011
    Ultimately an inspiring, stirring and unforgettable human drama in the face of a horrifying war. It is highly recommended.
  2. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Jan 17, 2012
    It's a special film of sacrifice, redemption and hope in the shadow of a holocaust that packs an emotional wallop from which there is no escape. I can't get it out of my thoughts, and I recommend it highly.
  3. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Dec 20, 2011
    Scene by scene, The Flowers of War is an erratic and ungainly piece of storytelling, full of melodramatic twists and grotesque visual excesses (a bullet pierces first a stained-glass window and then a girl's neck), which are nonetheless delivered with startling conviction.
  4. Reviewed by: Andrew Schenker
    Dec 19, 2011
    This film has too many weak, unconnected strands (what's the subplot about the narrator's father doing here anyway?), too much overtly expositional dialogue, and too unfocused a narrative to really cohere. And then there's that whole matter of expendable whores.
  5. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Jan 18, 2012
    Now let me ask you: Can you think of any reason the character John Miller is needed to tell his story? Was any consideration given to the possibility of a Chinese priest? Would that be asking for too much?
  6. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Dec 26, 2011
    Flowers abounds with well-worn movie archetypes and slathers on schmaltz.
  7. Reviewed by: V.A. Musetto
    Dec 23, 2011
    Zhang Yimou, one of China's best-known filmmakers, deserves a great big lump of coal in his holiday stocking thanks to his ludicrous soap opera The Flowers of War.

See all 22 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 17
  2. Negative: 3 out of 17
  1. Dec 25, 2011
    I have never been deeply moved by a Chinese movie,but the film ,The Flowes of War does it,.It made me a unforgettable impression.The polt and the frame of movie are very excellent .Most important, I was deeply stirred by the sad story of 13 FLOWERS .ALSO by the CHINA in the past .As a Chinese,I feel angry and wanna cry .But I can't forget the history of this period .This is a good film ,and it gives me a significant lesson.By the way,I hope you can love it like me. Collapse
  2. Aug 19, 2012
    Amazing Amazing Amazing movie. Tear jerker but amazing acting and amazing story line. It has to be one of the best movies I have ever seen. And I am a avid movie goer. Expand
  3. Dec 16, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Donner 10 à un film est toujours mal vu. Mais moi je me dis, si j'ai adorée le film, s'il m'a touché, si je n'y ai pas trouvé de longueur et que j'en aurais demandé plus...voilà quelques raison pourquoi je donne 10. Dans ce film dont les images ne sont pas facile à regarder, où les balles traversent les corps et les têtes...certaines scènes démontrent un grand côté artistique, voire la beauté à travers le drame, la scène qui me vient en tête est celle que les filles de joies s'enroulent dans les draps blancs, elles tournent sur elles-mêmes, en même temps, tel une performance de ballet. Lorsque les filles laissent tomber à tour de rôle un miroir qui éclate en fracats par terre au ralenti. Tout au long du film il y a des intrigues et des revirements de situation. Les actrices asiatiques m'ont particulièrement touchées. Vraiment, ce film est magnique. Expand
  4. Oct 11, 2013
    A great film. Very interesting and moving story. You really get a view on the Nanjing Massacre with the graphic cruelty and horror shown in many scenes.
    Wouldn't say it was Bale's best performance. The plot manages to stick on the main theme which is war, courage, sacrifice..
  5. Jan 12, 2012
    Great movie, which tell you a crucial war story from a special point. However, I still can not fee strong logic for those 13 "flowers" to sacrifice their life for others. Expand
  6. Jul 17, 2012
    Don't go into this hoping it's an action flick. This is not a "Hero" or "House of Flying Daggers" martial arts/Wuxia flick. And just because it's a "war movie" doesn't mean it has to be non-stop action. Saving Private Ryan is mostly drama with an under current of action, and so is this. If you want action, watch a Michael Bay movie or a Jason Stathom flick. This is a Zhang Yimou movie (Curse of the Golden Flower, The Road Home...etc) so it's going to mostly be about drama, as it should. It's a film about the relationship between an American mortician (Christian Bale), teenage Chinese school girls, and Chinese prostitutes learning to respect one another during the Japanese invasion of China, and it's done so in a beautiful sort of melodramatic way. Hiding in a church, we take a journey with the characters as they get to know one another under stressful, war-time tension. I was surprised when learning that Christian Bale would be play the American mortician, but he seemed to be more believable than I expected. It's worth a viewing, especially if you're a fan of Zhang Yimou's work. Expand
  7. Jan 11, 2012
    I gave up after 10 minutes. Imagine Nanking(2007) with the flippant humour of an Indian Jones movie and you have , in essence, this sorry sorry excuse for a movie. Its awful. I am embarrassed for the director . And i can only imagine how Mr Bale feels. Its actually a bit disturbing how the death of children can be inter-mixed with humour. I feel somewhat disgusted by the movie and i can only hope that it quickly disappears and will not be for general release. Expand

See all 17 User Reviews