Little Buddha (1994)
Bernardo Bertolucci attempts to mix Buddhist spirituality with childhood fantasy in Little Buddha. When Dean Conrad (Chris Isaak), a Seattle architect, comes home from work one day, he finds two robed Buddhist monks sitting in his living room talking with his wife Lisa (Bridget Fonda). Guided by a series of disturbing dreams, the monks have traveled from Nepal to Seattle because they believe that the Conrad's ten-year-old son, Jesse (Alex Wiesendanger) may be the reincarnation of a legendary Buddhist mystic. The Conrads are initially skeptical, particularly when the monks want to take their son back to Bhutan with them. But after Dean's partner commits suicide, Dean has a religious awakening ("I've been doin' some thinkin'," he says) and permits Jesse to go away with the monks. Then the Lama Norbu (Ruocheng Ying) gives Jesse a children's book about the Buddha Siddhartha (Keanu Reeves). Siddhartha leads a sheltered life until he comes upon a couple of all-knowing beggars who introduce him to poverty and hunger. After this revelation, Siddhartha decides that it is his destiny to relieve all human beings from pain and suffering. Back in present day, Jesse is now knowledgeable about the basis of Buddhism. Much to Jesse's and his father's surprise, however, they find that there are two other children at Bhutan who show signs of being the reincarnated Buddhist mystic. … More
as Prince Siddhartha
as Dean Konrad
as Lisa Konrad
as Jesse Konrad
as Lama Norbu
as Kenpo Tenzin
as Lama Dorje
as King Suddhodhana
as Queen Maya
as Lord Mara
as Queen's Assistant
as Old Musician
as Saddiya Siddiqui
as Anita Thakur
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Critic Reviews for Little Buddha
An intimate, spiritual film from Bertolucc, which trying to combine elements of mysticism and Western culture.
Excellent introduction to Buddhism--strongest portions are mythical excerpts of Buddha's life.
Although the search for enlightenment may not have much in the way of high-concept appeal, the film should satisfy adventurous moviegoers as well as the large number of adults already intrigued by eastern religions.
Bertolucci's celebrated burnt-orange-and-burnished-lemon look remains handsome, and the story itself still commands some interest as a pivot into daunting material.
A crazily mesmerizing pop artifact that ranks alongside Herman Hesse's novel Siddhartha in terms of extreme earnestness and quasi-religious entertainment value.
Has some captivating qualities about both contemporary American life and Tibetan Buddhism.
A well-realized parable about Siddhartha, the Dalai Lama, reincarnation, and a boy's journey of discovery and death.
Part fairy tale, part travelogue, and part kindergarten lesson in Eastern religion. Not a single part is persuasive or compelling.
The modern sequences lack realism or credibility. The ancient sequences play like the equivalent of a devout Bible story.
As beautifully photographed and intelligently-written as the movie is, it has no emotional depth or appeal, and is often as cold and clinical as its gray depiction of Seattle.
Some of the movie's mysteries are more unsuccessfully secular than rapturously eternal, but the doorway opens far enough to offer a few glimpses of nirvana.
Cynics may turn away, but I found the ideas and their execution quite fascinating.
Audience Reviews for Little Buddha
Ultimately this fell flat for me. I was more interested in the segements relating Siddhartha's story than in any of the modern day goings on, even if Keanu Reeves seems to mainly be in the film to look pretty (which his delivery of lines suggests).More
I watched this film in my religion class for the first time, and it was enough for me. However, I do give it credit for staying biblically correct to the religion!More
Great casting, really splendid, because when I think of Buddha I automatically think Keanu Reeves. Honestly I started to burst out laughing whenever Keanu spoke, it was pretty bad. Other than that I thought the story was interesting, and cute. I thought that it would have been more heavy handed, but it was quite passive in it's views of the world which I found refreshing.More
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