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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
Nell Minow
Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies

Full Review Source: Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies | Original Score: B

February 18, 2012
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
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
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
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
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
Manuel Mendoza
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ballet dancer Chi Cao does a great job of capturing both Li's chops on the stage and his sincerity and culture shock in the face of American opulence.

Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News | Original Score: 4/5

August 27, 2010
Richard Nilsen
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Hollywood has a long history of turning highbrow art into middlebrow mush, and Mao's Last Dancer is just one more kick dancer in that long line.

Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Original Score: 3/5

August 26, 2010
Jeff Meyers
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

Chinese ballet star Li Cunxin meets girl and America and falls in love

Full Review Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI) | Original Score: C+

August 26, 2010
Nell Minow
Common Sense Media

Comes alive in the ballets, which convey not only the creative energy of their own story-telling but the ultimate expression of the performers' passion for their art.

Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Original Score: B

August 22, 2010
Susan Granger

Think "Billy Elliot" combined with "The Last Emperor" and a touch of "Rocky." Great movies transport the audience - and this left me enriched and exhilarated.

Full Review Source: | Original Score: 10/10

August 21, 2010
Pete Hammond
Boxoffice Magazine

[A] stirring and remarkable true story.

Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine | Original Score: 4/5

August 20, 2010
Richard Kuipers
Top Critic IconTop Critic
February 23, 2012
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