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Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2011)


Average Rating: 7.9/10
Reviews Counted: 91
Fresh: 81
Rotten: 10

Critics Consensus: Languorous and deeply enigmatic, Palme d'Or winner Uncle Boonmee represents an original take on the ghosts that haunt us.

Average Rating: 8.4/10
Reviews Counted: 23
Fresh: 23
Rotten: 0

Critics Consensus: Languorous and deeply enigmatic, Palme d'Or winner Uncle Boonmee represents an original take on the ghosts that haunt us.


Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 9,761


Movie Info

Suffering from acute kidney failure, Uncle Boonmee has chosen to spend his final days surrounded by his loved ones in the countryside. Surprisingly, the ghost of his deceased wife appears to care for him, and his long lost son returns home in a non-human form. Contemplating the reasons for his illness, Boonmee treks through the jungle with his family to a mysterious hilltop cave - the birthplace of his first life... -- (C) Strand

Art House & International , Science Fiction & Fantasy , Comedy , Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By:
Apichatpong Weerasethakul
In Theaters:
Jul 12, 2011
Box Office:
Strand Releasing


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Critic Reviews for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

All Critics (91) | Top Critics (23) | Fresh (81) | Rotten (10) | DVD (4)

Weerasethakul's sincerity is evident, though the film's meditative pace and vague philosophical undertones will not be for everyone.

Full Review… | June 16, 2011
Seattle Times
Top Critic

This is a film that wants to be interesting, and it certainly is that. Whether you want to dine with the ghost and the monkey-man or not, they bring a new perspective to the table.

Full Review… | April 29, 2011
Detroit News
Top Critic

As is to be expected, Weerasethakul frequently abandons the story for trancelike contemplations of nature, but never before in his work has the device felt more purposeful.

Full Review… | April 29, 2011
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

While the result is pretty much the definition of a film that should be experienced, not explained, there's no sense here that Weerasethakul is being difficult for difficult's sake, or even attempting to conceal his mysteries.

Full Review… | April 29, 2011
Top Critic

It playfully invokes both the lifestyle and animistic beliefs of the Northeast country folk, and the primitive magic of early Thai cinema, relating both of these to his musings on reincarnation.

Full Review… | April 29, 2011
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

If you are open, even in fancy, to the idea of ghosts who visit the living, this film is likely to be a curious but rather bemusing experience.

Full Review… | April 15, 2011
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives is boring and completely fails to engage on any level. Simply put, it's much too strange for its own good.

Full Review… | November 9, 2013
We Got This Covered

A film about recurrent visions and round-trip journeys: a movie not just about previous incarnations but about the possibilities of multiple and diverging paths into the future and out of the past

Full Review… | November 7, 2013
Film Comment Magazine

Weerasethakul's sixth feature is a typically slowburning experience of art cinema that doesn't feature a single spoken word until eight minutes in and is as equally enchanting as it is infuriating.

Full Review… | September 15, 2013

Uncle Boonmee is about ... the moments when our worlds expand; when our outlines turn out to be more porous than we thought.

Full Review… | November 25, 2011
Looking Closer

Uncle Boonmee is a film to be experienced for its immediacy and thought upon for its ineffability.

Full Review… | October 25, 2011
Film Threat

Fits neatly into Weerasethakul's cinema-shaking oeuvre of beautiful experimentation. [Blu-ray]

Full Review… | August 1, 2011
Groucho Reviews

One to absorb, to wonder at, and, perhaps most significantly, to give exposure to lines of thinking that one might not be familiar with.

Full Review… | July 14, 2011
Window to the Movies

Beguiling, frequently baffling and frustrating.

Full Review… | July 14, 2011
Digital Spy

A stunningly beautiful visual experimental Buddhist film.

Full Review… | June 10, 2011
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Truly enchanting.

Full Review… | May 27, 2011

Weerasethakul is operating here in a specific liminal space between experimental artwork and arthouse filmmaking.

Full Review… | May 14, 2011
Film School Rejects

Even if it can't be recommended to everyone, [it] blossoms inside you the longer you allow it to.

Full Review… | April 28, 2011

[Compared to Weerasethakul's earlier work] it's easier to get a handle on the edges, more opaque in the middle, and not as radical in its ideas or its execution.

Full Review… | April 18, 2011
Antagony & Ecstasy

The movie isn't paced as a conventional narrative; its story imperceptibly droops, like a heavy frond.

Full Review… | April 13, 2011

Audience Reviews for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives


A lot of people criticise Uncle Boonmee for it's lack of a solid narrative. Having one wasn't the film's primary focus anyway, but what it does have, simply cannot be explained in literal terms. This art house feature was created for spiritual enlightenment so naturally, it's not your average indie flick. Despite it's incredibly slow pacing, it's overwhelming. It doesn't let it's open minded surrealism disrupt the ideas and explanations of reincarnation, ghosts and the distances and borders between lives. Even in it's weirdest moments it's intelligent, enigmatic, and engaging and perfectly blends genres such as drama, comedy and horror. Visually outstanding, thought-provoking and delightfully otherworldly, it's one of the better films of 2010.

Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

I don't mind dead wives showing up for dinner as uninvited guests but when a Sasquatch starts to browse your old photo albums THAT is where things get a little weird.

Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer


Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives is a fragmented, calm recollection of memories that ponders on life and reincarnation. Metaphoric to the evolution of cinema, its transformation and eventual extinction. Extremely stunning photography. Eerily beautiful.

Jan Marc Macababayao
Jan Marc Macababayao

Super Reviewer


Thai farmer Boonme meets spirits and ghosts and experiences past lives as he calmly prepares for his death. Unfortunately, this film will earn the title "Uncle Bore-me" from many viewers, thanks to the many laconic, uneventful scenes between encounters with money spirits and bouts of catfish cunnilingus; the patient will be rewarded with marvelous, mystical sights.

Greg S

Super Reviewer

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives Quotes

Huay (Boonmee's Wife):
Heaven is overrated. There is nothing there
– Submitted by Jay B (3 years ago)

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