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Yihe yuan (Summer Palace)

Yihe yuan (Summer Palace) (2006)



Average Rating: 6.2/10
Reviews Counted: 32
Fresh: 23 | Rotten: 9

Though it suffers from excessive length and inconsistent pacing, Summer Palace is held aloft by Hao Lei's riveting performance.


Average Rating: 6.4/10
Critic Reviews: 15
Fresh: 12 | Rotten: 3

Though it suffers from excessive length and inconsistent pacing, Summer Palace is held aloft by Hao Lei's riveting performance.



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Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 1,691

My Rating

Movie Info

A romance takes place against some of the most turbulent events in recent Chinese history in this epic-scale story from filmmaker Lou Ye. Yu Hong (Hao Lei) is a beautiful 17-year-old girl who is soon to leave the small border town where she was born and raised to attend college at Beijing University. Shortly before Yu Hong leaves for school, she gives her virginity to her longtime boyfriend, Xiao, and pledges to remain faithful to him. At Beijing University, Yu Hong makes friends with Li Ti (Hu


Drama, Romance, Art House & International

Ye Lou, Feng Mei, Ma Yingli

Mar 11, 2008

Palm Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (32) | Top Critics (15) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (9) | DVD (3)

Though made in 2006, its American release could not have been better timed.

March 21, 2008 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Search out this vivid film in a theater. Don't let the sacrifices he [Director Lou Ye] made be in vain.

February 29, 2008 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
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Like a Tolstoyan epic.

February 28, 2008 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
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I still must recommend Summer Palace, especially for the remarkably strong performance by Hao Lei as Yu Hong, the daughter of a shopkeeper in the provinces.

January 18, 2008 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
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Lou Ye's Summer Palace examines youthful idealism and its unhappy aftermath.

January 18, 2008
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In Yu Hong (Hao Lei), the film also has a vibrant heroine.

January 17, 2008 Full Review Source: Newsday
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The supporting cast is uniformly fine and excels at creating an emotional spectrum appropriate to the wildly variegated tonalities of Summer Palace's very realistic milieu.

June 17, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

Now I don't mind movies that have the pace of a snail, but nothing freakin' happens in this movie. Nothing!

July 22, 2008 Full Review
Sin Magazine

It can overwhelm you and puzzle and repel you, sometimes within moments.

March 21, 2008 Full Review Source: Oregonian

It benefits from a riveting performance by newcomer Hao, but the whole is sadly unsatisfying.

March 13, 2008

It falls apart just when it was starting to pull itself together.

March 12, 2008 Full Review Source:

The saying goes "There's a time and a place for everything, and it's called college." Who knew that included actually caring about something?

March 10, 2008 Full Review Source:

Mopey-soapy as it sometimes gets, though, this is intelligent, passionate stuff.

February 29, 2008 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Daily News
Los Angeles Daily News

Set against the tumultuous year of 1989, this vividly colorful melodrama of Chinese youth's sex and politics links the initimate and personal with the broader social forces in intriguing, fascinating ways.

January 28, 2008 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Despite its problems, Summer Palace is still a good film thanks to [its] sweep-away moments.

January 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

The film becomes less and less involving as it spins out its excessive 140-minute running time.

January 22, 2008 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

A torrid sexual romance between two students at Beijing University set against the backdrop of changes simmering in China in 1989.

January 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for Yihe yuan (Summer Palace)

Even thought I am rating this a 3 Star, its still a pretty good flix, more of a chick flix, about a young lady in china, and the movie is made from her diary. Some Nudity, so those girls under 18 hide your eyes, yea right, if you enjoy this one let me hear from you.
August 16, 2008
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]"Summer Palace" starts in 1987 with Yu Hong(Lei Huo) who lives near the North Korean border being accepted[/font] [font=Century Gothic]to Beijing University where she does not exactly fit in. Sensing her loneliness, Li Ti(Ling Hu) befriends her, saying most people think either she has had her heart broken or she is a lesbian(Well...) Li Ti even goes further, introducing her to her boyfriend, Ruo Gu(Xianmin Zhang), and their mutual friend, Zhou Wei(Xiaodong Guo).[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]When "From Here to Eternity" starts in Hawaii 1941, it is immensely clear where the movie is heading and what the climax will be. In "Summer Palace," there is a similar sense of foreboding concerning the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989(Which does seem like it might have been a seminal year but not when you are living through it.) but here it is anticlimax. After that event, the movie skips ahead to 1997 before finally coming to a halt in 2001.(The movie might have had a chance if it had been less linear.) While it does seem to go on forever, it also gets the college experience just right(That beng said, I am just grateful I never had to use a bedpan) but I do not remember that much sex in college.(Well, I am glad at least somebody was getting some.) And at this quantity and explicitness, it does get very tedious quickly. [/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Considering the setting, "Summer Palace" is strangely devoid of politics which trivializes the student activism of the time and place. For example, there is a scene where there is a political meeting but a character simply says it is boring and that is it.(Which reminds me why I love Ken Loach so much...) No matter where you go, college is a staging area where students are introduced to a panoply of ideas. In conclusion, education does not end at graduation but the movie should have been over by then.[/font]
January 21, 2008
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Summer Palace a Chinese movie that caught my attention from the moment it started on my screen.A young girl encountered her first experiences with love and sex. The movie showed huge changes China was undergoing in the mid-eighties.She was excepted at university in Beijing and met a guy who she fell madly in love with.The acting directing, editing,photography all was very breathtaking. The story was heartbreaking as we followed these 2 student during the protests and how they lost sight of each other and lived separate lives.Sex was an important part of the movie, since it expressed passion, but still it did not have a happy ending and it had a message that you have to discover by thinking and feeling the movie.
April 2, 2010
Daisy Maduro

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Summer Palace (Yihe yuan) (DE)
  • Summer Palace (Yihe yuan) (UK)
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