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Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (2012)

tomatometer

93

Average Rating: 8/10
Critic Reviews: 29
Fresh: 27 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.

audience

87

liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 4,993

My Rating

Movie Info

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry is the first feature-length film about the internationally renowned Chinese artist and activist, Ai Weiwei. In recent years, Ai has garnered international attention as much for his ambitious artwork as his political provocations. From 2008 to 2010, Beijing-based journalist and filmmaker Alison Klayman gained unprecedented access to Ai Weiwei. Klayman documented Ai's artistic process in preparation for major museum exhibitions, his intimate exchanges with family members and

R,

Documentary, Special Interest

Dec 3, 2012

$0.5M

IFC Films - Official Site External Icon

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Latest News on Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

July 26, 2012:
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July 26, 2012:
Alison Klayman Talks Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
The director discusses her new documentary, opening in limited release this weekend.

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All Critics (81) | Top Critics (29) | Fresh (74) | Rotten (2) | DVD (1)

A fascinating portrait of a modern artist and activist trying to make a difference within China's repressive political system.

September 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film's recurring theme is of an artist on a perpetual hunt for transparency, in his country and abroad.

August 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
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A movie that somehow mixes apprehension for Ai with a feeling of warmth and, certainly, fun.

August 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Newsday
Newsday
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Affable and unpretentious, Ai comes across as a cagey operator whose candor is very appealing.

August 9, 2012 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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It's likely to change the way you think about art and politics and the state of China today.

August 9, 2012 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
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Using archival footage dating back to Ai's adventures in the New York art world in his 20s, Klayman traces his evolution as a creator and as an activist.

August 9, 2012 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

To say Ai Weiwei is an interesting character is an understatement. He is an unconventional social activist and a thorn in the side of the authoritarian Chinese Communist Party.

January 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Ai Weiwei is such a laid back, calm and yet mischievous spirit that the film takes on a whole different, almost joyous tone.

December 18, 2012 Full Review Source: Kinetofilm
Kinetofilm

The film is about the power and limits of art.

December 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Klayman never demonizes the authoritarian Chinese government, as her purpose seems to be to show how difficult it is to be a rebel in such a closed society as China.

November 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A compelling documentary that explodes proper and stuffy notions of what a foreign intellectual dissident looks and sounds like.

September 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Shared Darkness
Shared Darkness

The struggle for free speech in China is given sharp, sobering, disturbing voice through the struggles of cutting edge, digitally savvy, Twitter-loving artist Ai Weiwei.

September 21, 2012 Full Review Source: 3AW

Alison Klayman's remarkable film about China's leading 'digital dissident' fully illustrates the talents of a man who often does the opposite of what you'd expect.

September 19, 2012 Full Review Source: Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post

... straightforward, entertaining and provocative documentary about the titular Chinese artist

September 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Even if you don't like documentaries as a rule, I'm betting you'll like Ai Weiwei himself so much that you'll be glad you took the time to get to know him through this film.

September 4, 2012 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Klayman deserves a lot of credit for being in the right place at the right time with the right person. Ai is a treat to follow around, and his courage is clearly more than a pose.

August 26, 2012 Full Review Source: KC Active
KC Active

An unprecedented inside look at Chinese politics and a fascinating tour of modern art at the same time.

August 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Monsters and Critics
Monsters and Critics

A powerful film that teaches us as much about ourselves as it does it's subject, "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry," is a sure bet to be nominated for an Oscar come January 2013.

August 19, 2012 Full Review Source: MediaMikes
MediaMikes

This riveting documentary deserves consideration for year-end awards. Klayman gained unprecedented access to this very photogenic man with a dynamic personality.

August 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Entertainment Spectrum
Entertainment Spectrum

A lively, informative, funny and inspirational portrait of a courageous, charismatic, highly original man.

August 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

His willingness to speak out despite severe consequences is inspiring, and his recent silence speaks almost as loudly as his work in calling attention to China's repressive tactics.

August 10, 2012 Full Review Source: KPBS.org
KPBS.org

This essential, finely honed biographical portrait is jollied along by all the ironies and complexities of modern China.

August 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Irish Times
Irish Times

Who doesn't hate it when critics say, "this is an important documentary you must see!" Well, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry is a critically important documentary you need to see.

August 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Big Hollywood
Big Hollywood

Well worth seeing.

August 10, 2012 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

Audience Reviews for Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

Captivating documentary about a social activist of the people. It reveals his forthright manner that dumbfounds most Chinese, and his comic moments of "countering hooliganism with hooliganism"; also reveals that some of his art I think is bullshit and that he suffered from the same marital weaknesses that plagued other political leaders from Gandhi to Mandela to Clinton.

Most of all, through interviews with his peers, volunteer employees and fans, the director has shown how much hope he has brought to many Chinese people -- how closely people look to him as a barometer for how far one can push the Communist Party for accountability. His defense of choice appears to be carrying a camera-phone and using it everywhere, reminding me of another documentary "Five Broken Cameras" and probably the same strategy used by many other intrepid justice-seekers today.

PS: I was proud to see a Change.org petition in here!
June 29, 2014
Letitia Lew

Super Reviewer

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry is a good place to start if you are unaware of who he is and what he does. For someone that has followed him for years, it doesn't bring you much apart for full access to his private and some work life. It's great to see and works as a brilliant companion piece to all the work of his that I've seen. I recommend it to anyone with interest in politics and art and those with an open mind. My only criticism is that it didn't answer the big question, What happened to him in those months he disappeared and how has it changed him? I guess it's too early to really know but I hope he gets back to his old self soon, the world needs him, even though the world doesn't necessarily realise it.
September 13, 2013
SirPant

Super Reviewer

Documentary about Ai Weiwei, a Chinese conceptual artist whose anti-establishment views (and specifically his quest to uncover the names of Sichuan earthquake victims, considered a state secret) lead him into conflict with the government. Interest flags a little bit when the doc discusses Weiwei's art and personal life rather than his political activism, but it is a peek at China's troubled human rights record and with an important and inspiring message about standing up to bullies.
September 14, 2012
366weirdmovies
Greg S

Super Reviewer

"Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry" is an insightful, engaging and inspiring documentary about the activist and famed artist. That having been said, I am sure there are some people who might find it strange that I use the word inspiring for an artist who makes his art from smashing antique vases and pointing his middle finger at landmarks, especially Tiananmen Square.(By the way, does anybody know if there are any photos of his middle finger in front of Yankee Stadium?) I think both are symbolic of how nothing is sacred, especially the Chinese government who he is in a running battle with to gain transparency into the inner workings of its bureaucracy. After they shut down his blog, he went on Twitter and distributed his documentaries for free over the internet. His style is definitely confrontational, as somebody says he reminds him of a hooligan, but in a good way.(As Ani DiFranco once sang, being nice is overrated.) Remember, we are all hooligans, right now.

Ai Weiwei's activism hit a critical point when he criticized the treatment of the poor during the 2008 Olympics and the response to the Sichuan earthquake which killed several thousand children in faulty construction that has been compared to tofu. As New Yorker magazine correspondent Evan Osnos points out, Ai Weiwei was initially inspired politically by the Iran Contra hearings when he was living in the United States that sought to hold a government responsible but did not work as well as some of us would have liked. So, instead of the fortune his son would inherit, he will have something much more precious to leave him.

Now, if I can only figure out if the cat opening the door is supposed to be a metaphor or just darn cute.
September 4, 2012
Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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