Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress Reviews

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Patrick Z. McGavin
Chicago Reader
March 18, 2010
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.
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Bob Mondello
NPR.org
October 18, 2008
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Time Out
January 26, 2006
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Richard Nilsen
Arizona Republic
January 12, 2006
The film is episodic, and most of the scenes are evocative and charming.
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Houston Chronicle
December 6, 2005
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Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
November 23, 2005
[A] tribute to the transforming power of books.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
November 17, 2005
A nifty little film about the powers of culture and the humanities.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
November 11, 2005
[A] charmer.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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John Monaghan
Detroit Free Press
October 21, 2005
The movie may lose some of its bite when translated from page to screen, but it still delivers a valid message. When one of the boys starts reading good literature, life takes on new meaning.
| Original Score: 3/4
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
October 17, 2005
Offers its share of little pleasures, but falls short of the greatness to which it aspires.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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AV Club
October 15, 2005
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
October 14, 2005
A funny, sad and absolutely lovely film.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Tom Keogh
Seattle Times
September 30, 2005
Dai's episodic treatment has the force of memory, equally embracing the beautiful, the bittersweet and the absurd.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
September 29, 2005
A fine, gentle film love story and a cinematic tribute to the power and manifold benefits of communications between different cultures and nations.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
September 29, 2005
The elements in the story push all the right buttons, but the buttons don't seem to be wired to anything.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
September 16, 2005
It's a lovely little movie about very big things, and the smallness both illuminates it and keeps it from greatness.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Jonathan Curiel
San Francisco Chronicle
September 2, 2005
Sweet, funny, sad and profound -- the sort of film that becomes more remarkable when you realize it's based on someone's real life.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Carina Chocano
Los Angeles Times
August 25, 2005
The transformation of the Little Seamstress is ambiguous and bittersweet and leaves you with the feeling that, like a character out of Balzac, her story will be one of loss of innocence.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
August 25, 2005
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress is by turns merry, tough-minded and sweetly nostalgic.
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
August 17, 2005
Dai Sijie has created a dreamy memory of hardship -- part familiar Chinese parable, part familiar French romance.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Teresa Wiltz
Washington Post
August 12, 2005
Visually, Balzac is a jewel of a movie, with panoramic vistas of the lake on the mountain, framed in mist, where the villagers, in a haunting nighttime ceremony, float candlelit paper boats bearing the names of their dearly departed.
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Desson Thomson
Washington Post
August 11, 2005
If the movie is straightforward and predictable in its attitude, it also exudes a sort of documentary lyricism.
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Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
July 29, 2005
It's a fanciful tale, but the message is sweet -- that the higher arts speak a universal language that transcends politics and ignorance.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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V.A. Musetto
New York Post
July 29, 2005
A meditation on literature, love and remembrance that is able to find humor and hope in the dark days of the Cultural Revolution. Quite an achievement, we'd say.
| Original Score: 3/4
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
July 28, 2005
Dai Sijie's tender, touching adaptation of his own novel of the same title.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
July 28, 2005
Its well-earned humanistic frissons should serve as a wake-up call for the great majority of American movies, with their inexhaustible supply of smugness and complacency.
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Ed Park
Village Voice
July 26, 2005
Though the film lacks some of the paper incarnation's subtlety, Dai's infidelity to his own text keeps things interesting.
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Susan Walker
Toronto Star
February 28, 2003
A delightful fable about the enduring value of literature.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
February 28, 2003
It's a bittersweet and lyrical mix of elements.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
October 31, 2002
A poignant lyricism runs through Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress that transforms this story about love and culture into a cinematic poem.