Critic Reviews



Based on 22 critic reviews provided by
Washington Post
If the movie is straightforward and predictable in its attitude, it also exudes a sort of documentary lyricism.
New York Post
A meditation on literature, love and remembrance that is able to find humor and hope in the dark days of the Cultural Revolution.
It's a fanciful tale, but the message is sweet - that the higher arts speak a universal language that transcends politics and ignorance.
A visually lush and very Westernized vision of life in a remote Chinese village in the early 1970s.
Village Voice
Though the film lacks some of the paper incarnation's subtlety, Dai's infidelity to his own text keeps things interesting. He busts the book's brief time frame, tweaks countless plot points, and tops it all off with a titanic metaphor not found in his own pages.
Dai Sijie's tender, touching adaptation of his own novel of the same title.
Chicago Reader
The ethereal private moments and inspired passages are beautifully shot by Jean-Marie Dreujou, but Dai never quite organizes the material dramatically, and the tone is too often jagged and disruptive.
The A.V. Club
Sijie mostly adapts his own work dryly and literally—the footage of the Chinese mountainside is breathtaking, but it's the only thing in the film with much depth.
The story is winning but the telling, with Dai adapting and directing from his own novel, is too sentimental in the long run.
TV Guide Magazine
Demonstrating just how different literature and filmmaking can be, filmmaker-turned-writer-turned filmmaker Dai Sijie botches an adaptation of his own best-selling short novel.

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