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Mao's Last Dancer Reviews

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Kevin Carr
7M Pictures

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

Full Review Source: 7M Pictures | Original Score: 3.5/5

October 2, 2013
Don Groves

Missteps prevent ballet drama from reaching great heights.

Full Review Source: | Original Score: 3.5

December 24, 2010
Philip Martin
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

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

Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | Original Score: 86/100

October 15, 2010
Nick Schager
Lessons of Darkness

Woefully creaky and corny.

Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness | Original Score: C-

October 12, 2010
Sean Means
Salt Lake Tribune

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

Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune | Original Score: 2/4

October 8, 2010
Graham Killeen
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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.

Full Review Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Original Score: 2.5/4

September 30, 2010
John Beifuss
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

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

Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) | Original Score: 2.5/4

September 29, 2010
Mike Ward

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.

Full Review Source: | Original Score: 2.5/4

September 24, 2010
Chris Robinson
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

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.

Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City | Original Score: 2/4

September 23, 2010
Josh Bell
Las Vegas Weekly

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

Full Review Source: Las Vegas Weekly | Original Score: 2/5

September 23, 2010
Jonathan F. Richards
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

Full Review Source:

September 21, 2010
Robert W. Butler
Kansas City Star

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

Full Review Source: Kansas City Star | Original Score: 3/4

September 10, 2010
Peter Brunette
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

September 10, 2010
Keith Cohen
Entertainment Spectrum

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

Full Review Source: Entertainment Spectrum | Original Score: 3/4

September 10, 2010
Ken Hanke
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

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

Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC) | Original Score: 4/5

September 9, 2010
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Original Score: 2.5/4

September 3, 2010
Marc Savlov
Austin Chronicle

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

Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle | Original Score: 2.5/5

September 3, 2010
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press

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.

Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press | Original Score: 1/4

September 3, 2010
Simon Abrams
Slant Magazine

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.

Full Review Source: Slant Magazine | Original Score: 1/4

August 30, 2010
Tom Long
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Lovely and astounding, Mao's Last Dancer is a modern epic of art and ambition triumphing oppression.

Full Review Source: Detroit News | Original Score: B+

August 27, 2010
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