China Heavyweight Reviews

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Meredith Slifkin
Film Comment Magazine
June 28, 2013
Chang works within the philosophical framework of the world of boxing to paint a poignant and often incisive portrait of the evolving Chinese cultural landscape and the temptations and ambitions that come with change.
Brent Simon
Shockya.com
September 26, 2012
Award-winning filmmaker Yung Chang returns to China for another unexpectedly lyrical snapshot of that country's rapidly changing economic and cultural landscapes.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Janice Page
Boston Globe
September 20, 2012
Focuses on the stories of three boxers and weaves them into a compelling narrative that rivals anything Hollywood could script.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Tom Keogh
Seattle Times
September 13, 2012
Yung seems to anticipate real-life emotional beats and positions his camera at exactly the right moments, yet nothing seems artificial or scripted. The result is an unexpectedly tender film about the price of coming into one's own.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Mark Jenkins
Washington Post
July 20, 2012
The documentary is fluid, detailed and well photographed by Sun Shaoguang.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Mark Olsen
Los Angeles Times
July 19, 2012
Perhaps by focusing on something that is so much an individual sport, Chang creates a deep sense of tension between singular people and the bigger concerns of history, the team or country.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Louis Proyect
rec.arts.movies.reviews
July 7, 2012
A useful reminder that China's efforts to "catch up" with the West includes a descent into savagery.
Top Critic
Justin Chang
Variety
July 6, 2012
An intimate and affecting account of two aspiring boxers from the sticks training under the same hard-working coach.
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
July 6, 2012
In China Heavyweight, we have a new variant on an old theme, but the idealism and heartbreak on view are timeless and universal.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Kalvin Henely
Slant Magazine
July 6, 2012
Although we never really get to know He or Miao, despite following them around vérité-style, director Yung Chang expertly captures the rays of Western culture bouncing off them.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Nora Lee Mandel
Film-Forward.com
July 6, 2012
Portrait[s] of the individual determination and nationalistic fervor that seems to driv[e] China to the top in so many fields surmounts the sameness of this universal story.
Full Review | Original Score: 6/10
Top Critic
V.A. Musetto
New York Post
July 6, 2012
Call it "Rocky,'' Asian style.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Jeannette Catsoulis
New York Times
July 5, 2012
Mr. Sun straddles ancient and modern, tranquillity and turmoil, with equal sureness.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Keith Uhlich
Time Out
July 3, 2012
It's in between the lines that this movingly perceptive film scores a TKO.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Linda Barnard
Toronto Star
May 11, 2012
It stands as a fascinating look at a changing China and the courage it takes for those living there to punch above their weight.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Norman Wilner
NOW Toronto
May 11, 2012
When China Heavyweight goes all Rocky in a climactic bout, it feels like it's lurching to life for the first time.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
May 11, 2012
Chang nurses a compelling drama from a multilayered cultural reality, at once intimate and unfathomably large in implications.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Claude Peck
Minneapolis Star Tribune
September 20, 2012
This ain't no Rocky, and your take-aways are mostly about Chinese family and social customs.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Frank Scheck
Hollywood Reporter
July 9, 2012
China Heavyweight is an uneasy mixture of familiar sports doc tropes and sociological portraiture.
Chris Barsanti
Film Journal International
July 5, 2012
This vibrant documentary about young rural Chinese boxers has many of the hallmarks of greatness but keeps its subjects at too much of a remove to achieve it.
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