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Sunflower (Xiang ri kui) Reviews

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Prairie Miller

An odd combination of sociopolitical metaphor and conventional melodrama, Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yang's Sunflower has moments of keen insight and power touching on the ways in which human character and personality are shaped by historical experience.

Full Review Source: NewsBlaze

June 10, 2008
Jeff Shannon
Seattle Times
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The film's father-son friction grows occasionally repetitious, but it springs from a sensitive, well-written melodrama that earns its emotions with tender sincerity.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 3/4

January 4, 2008
Liz Braun
Jam! Movies

There is so much going on in Sunflower that you may want to see it more than once.

Full Review Source: Jam! Movies | Original Score: 3.5/5

September 21, 2007
Jason Anderson
Globe and Mail
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Sunflower succeeds as both a moving family drama and a microcosm of China's social history since the 1970s.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 3/4

September 21, 2007
Frank Scheck
Hollywood Reporter
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Although filled with a plethora of dramatic events, including earthquakes and floods, the film never achieves real dramatic momentum, due in large part to its needlessly sluggish pacing.

September 10, 2007
Eric Monder
Film Journal International

Whatever the movie lacks in sociopolitical insight, it makes up for with moving storytelling.

Full Review Source: Film Journal International

August 27, 2007
Jeannette Catsoulis
New York Times
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Like Douglas Sirk without the throw pillows, Sunflower is a shamelessly old-fashioned melodrama performed with such sincerity that resistance is futile.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 3.5/5

August 17, 2007
Rob Humanick
Slant Magazine

A much better film in theory than in practice.

Full Review Source: Slant Magazine | Original Score: 2.5/4

August 17, 2007
Jan Stuart
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Paging John O'Hara. One would have to reach back to those melodramatic family potboilers of the '50s to find such an unfettered blast of guilt-tripping and misdirected love.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 2/4

August 16, 2007
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Spirituality and Practice

A fascinating portrait of 30 years in a turbulent relationship between a domineering Chinese father and his stubborn son.

Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice | Original Score: 3/5

August 15, 2007
Julia Wallace
Village Voice
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Sunflower plays less like the epic it aspires to be than an episode of Full House: Beijing.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

August 14, 2007
Adam Nayman

This film marks a return to more accessible fare for Chinese director Zhang Yang.

Full Review Source: eye WEEKLY | Original Score: 3/5

September 24, 2005
Derek Elley
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The most conventional, but paradoxically the deepest felt and most emotionally affecting, of mainland Chinese helmer Zhang Yang's four pics.

Full Review Source: Variety

September 21, 2005
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