38 user 69 critic

Dumplings (2004)

Gau ji (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Horror | 19 August 2004 (Hong Kong)
Aunt Mei's famous homemade dumplings provide amazing age-defying qualities popular with middle-aged women. But her latest customer - a fading actress - is determined to find out what the secret ingredient is.


Fruit Chan


Pik-Wah Lee (as Lillian Lee)
3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Pauline Lau Pauline Lau ... Masseuse
Tony Ka Fai Leung ... Mr. Li (as Tony Ka-Fai Leung)
Bai Ling ... Mei, The Cook
Meme Tian ... Connie (as Meme)
So-Foon Wong So-Foon Wong ... Kate's mother
Miki Yeung ... Kate
Miriam Chin Wah Yeung ... Mrs. Li


In Hong Kong, Aunt Mei is a cook famous for her home-made rejuvenation dumplings, based on a millenarian recipe prepared with a mysterious ingredient that she brings directly from China. The former TV star Mrs. Li visits Mei aiming her dumplings to recover her youth and become attractive again to her wolf husband Mr. Li. Along the sessions, Mei tells Mrs. Li that she was a gynecologist in China with more than 30,000 abortions along ten years. When Mrs. Li requests an acceleration of the process, the opportunity comes when a fifteen years old teenager with a five months incestuous pregnancy comes with her mother and asks Mei to make an abortion. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Horror


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Spawned from the short Dumplings from the Asian cross-cultural trilogy Three... Extremes (2004). Includes the same director and star. See more »


In the bath scene where Mrs. Li is sobbing whilst watching the drama. The crying doesn't match up with the movements of the body/ head and mouth. See more »


Mei, the cook: [first lines]
Mei, the cook: Mrs. Li? You're so beautiful.
Mrs. Li: They say your dumplings are the most expensive.
Mei, the cook: Of course! Please come in.
See more »


Edited from Three... Extremes (2004) See more »

User Reviews

Frighteningly good, yet disturbing allegory of contemporary vanity and the desire and desperation to feed it
14 March 2006 | by joebloggscitySee all my reviews

With the recent announcements that they are releasing a new Rocky movie and Basic Instinct sequel, it doesn't half make you despair. Getting away from the mainstream though and you may find this gloriously dark movie about contemporary vanity.

Story centres round a woman who whilst still very beautiful is shunned by her husband for younger more nubile girls. Fearing the decline of her looks to be able to keep the attention of her husband, she seeks out the meals (the "dumplings" in the title) of an estranged ex-doctor who feeds her with the belief that she has the answer to eternal youth.

Revelations and twists and turns, darken the proceedings as the film goes on (which I won't mention to not spoil the show) but it is unlikely that you will see a darker satire than this all year.

Excellent acting, sharp script and an unsettling score all combine to make a revelation of a film. The camera work is sharp, and the message is powerful yet never ham-fisted.

The nearest equivalent I can think of is "Death Becomes Her" (the US film with Bruce Willis, Meryl Streep & Goldie Hawn), but that is more light hearted in tone. This has humour, but far more blacker than that movie, with themes that touch not only rich society but also the working class as well.

A great movie, which I would highly recommend!

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Hong Kong


Mandarin | Cantonese

Release Date:

19 August 2004 (Hong Kong) See more »

Also Known As:

Dumplings See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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