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Mao's Last Dancer (2010)



Average Rating: 6.3/10
Critic Reviews: 24
Fresh: 13 | Rotten: 11

No consensus yet.



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Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 6,069

My Rating

Movie Info

"Mao's Last Dancer" is the inspiring true story of Li Cunxin and his extraordinary journey from a poor upbringing in rural China to international stardom as a world-class ballet dancer. Based on the best selling autobiography, the film weaves a moving tale about the quest for freedom and the courage it takes to live your own life. It compellingly captures the struggles, sacrifices and triumphs, as well as the intoxicating effects of first love and celebrity amid the pain of exile.

May 3, 2011


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All Critics (75) | Top Critics (25) | Fresh (41) | Rotten (33) | DVD (1)

Bruce Beresford's biopic of Li Cunxin, the Chinese ballet dancer who defected while on a student visa in Houston in 1981, is sometimes the movie equivalent of Oscar Meyer cold cuts. But the dancing is pure caviar.

September 21, 2010 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Feel-good movie about a Chinese dancer presses all the right buttons.

September 10, 2010
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Australian director Bruce Beresford handles the culture-clash aspects of the story with a surprising lack of subtlety.

September 3, 2010 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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Lovely and astounding, Mao's Last Dancer is a modern epic of art and ambition triumphing oppression.

August 27, 2010 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
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Too often, though, the film plods along on the ground.

August 27, 2010 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ballet star Li Cunxin's best-selling autobiography gets a curiously tepid treatment in this 2009 adaptation by director Bruce Beresford.

August 27, 2010 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

a sweeping story that has many ups and downs, with some pretty noticeable changes in tone and pace

October 2, 2013 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

Missteps prevent ballet drama from reaching great heights.

December 24, 2010 Full Review Source:

...somehow makes the extraordinary true story it's based on seem like common corn while succeeding in modest ways.

October 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Woefully creaky and corny.

October 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness | Comment (1)
Lessons of Darkness

The script is far too melodramatic, and the performances ... are hamfisted and overwrought.

October 8, 2010 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

Mao's Last Dancer is such a profoundly moving story, it's hard not to get drawn in as Li must decide how much he's willing to sacrifice for his American dream.

September 30, 2010 Full Review Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Debuting actor Chi Cao's athleticism is the movie's most striking element.

September 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Ballet is kinda like ice hockey. It's more impressive when you're up close at the real deal. When you're 30 yards away, the snap of a slipper after a 90-lb ballerina lands a glissade is just as impressive as a 290-lb hockey goon hitting the boards.

September 24, 2010 Full Review Source:

Mao's Last Dancer is an epic tale of love and betrayal, triumph and heartbreak, that captures the real-life drama and emotion of one man's search for freedom. Well, it almost is.

September 23, 2010 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Whenever Beresford concerns himself with politics or, even worse, personal drama, Dancer falls limply to the ground.

September 23, 2010 Full Review Source: Las Vegas Weekly
Las Vegas Weekly

The movie works, thanks in large part to Chi's performance.

September 10, 2010 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

Let the trumpets blare for artistic freedom of expression that is perfectly reflected in this uplifting and moving biopic.

September 10, 2010 Full Review Source: Entertainment Spectrum
Entertainment Spectrum

Beresford knows the only way to deal with schmaltz is to just go ahead and embrace it.

September 9, 2010 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Beresford and the entire cast cover the proceedings with a light touch and just the right amount of gravitas (given the situation).

September 3, 2010 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle | Comment (1)
Austin Chronicle

There is some lovely ballet in Mao's Last Dancer. And it's great to see Joan Chen on-screen. And I'm out of nice things to say about the movie.

September 3, 2010 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Beresford can't even represent Li's dancing (the reason we're meant to root for this little foreigner that could in the first place) with a modicum of dynamism.

August 30, 2010 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for Mao's Last Dancer

Not a repeat movie by any means. Some of the melodrama seemed over the top and out of place with his relationship with the girl.
July 13, 2012

Super Reviewer

This is one of those must see based-on-a-true-story movies, even if you aren't into ballet. Beautiful. Entertaining. Inspiring.
August 21, 2011

Super Reviewer

Oh my god, this is such a bad, melodramatic movie. I wanted to watch this because I thought it was a documentary, but Mao's Last Dancer couldn't be further from that.
April 29, 2011

Super Reviewer

Enjoyed watching it once, but don't think it is one I will be watching again. Acting is kind of bad, but I guess some of these were cast more for their dancing skills, which are excellent. I found it more interesting in modern day than the flashbacks, but it is okay, I guess. It did seem to be a bit dumbed down for an American audience, (not sure if that is a fair comment or not), but I do watch quite a lot of foreign movies, and this to me seemed a bit lacking.
October 10, 2010

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Maos letzter Tänzer (DE)
  • El último bailarín de Mao (ES)
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