Mixed or average reviews - based on 13 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 13
  2. Negative: 1 out of 13
  1. 75
    The film's unusual look lends a magical feeling.
  2. Packs more sadness than the familiar fairy tale but offers its own fantastical delights. Ye Xian's party dress, made of teardrops, suits her -- and her story -- perfectly.
  3. 70
    A sweetly engaging effort that manages a fair amount of charm and innocence in spite of the rather seedy surroundings.
  4. 67
    To some degree, it's trying to find the magic in the everyday, but the attempts to ground it are cringe-inducing and problematic.
  5. An eye-opener for those unfamiliar with the tribulations many immigrants endure on their road to American citizenship. And yes, it is also a fairy tale, but not all fairy tales are for children.
  6. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    At its best, Year of the Fish makes a virtue of naivete - its heroine's, its director's, and the fragile fairy-tale belief that everyone deserves a happy ending.
  7. David Kaplan's sweet, if superficial, fairy tale won't change the world, but it makes nice use of its setting (Chinatown) and visual style (rotoscope animation).
  8. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    Kaplan keeps the story breezy and brisk, and provides his down-to-earthily modern fairy tale with an appropriately other-worldly visual style.
  9. 50
    Has a certain weird charm, but it's too seamy for children and too simplistic played for adults.
  10. Too raw for kids and too simplistic for adults.
  11. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    That the film is animated gives it an appropriately magical feel, but it can't save the story from being drowned in devices and stereotype.
  12. Lovely to look at, Year of the Fish is an animated feature that pops off the screen like a goldfish leaping free of its bowl.
  13. Reviewed by: Vadim Rizov
    Year of the Fish is the kind of really bad movie it takes a lot of misplaced conviction to make.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 4 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 1 out of 2
  1. JerryM
    Apr 8, 2009
    Awesome. Made me cry.
  2. magnesium
    Mar 27, 2009
    Uggh. While it's nice to have an Asian-centric film in American cinema, this film is so chock-full of stereotypes that it was almost too Uggh. While it's nice to have an Asian-centric film in American cinema, this film is so chock-full of stereotypes that it was almost too difficult to finish watching. As a Chinese-American myself, I had the feeling that the movie was made by those who did not make an effort to really get into the emotional underbelly of the immigrant experience. Also, why choose a sex parlor as a backdrop? I'm sorry if I'm unduly offended, but exactly how many Chinese immigrants these days actually do go into the sex trade? Does this play into the some sort of Western fantasy of Asian female eroticism? This movie would have been more effective if the director chose a wittier, lighter, and less heavy-handed approach. I'm sorry, but not all movies about Asian females have to rehash the same (evil) mother - repressed daughter emotional pathos of The Joy Luck Club (which incidentally made for a terrible one-dimensional movie). Although conceptually interesting , the execution was overly superficial and simplistic. Full Review »