A Thousand Years of Good Prayers

Critics Consensus

Though it may not be as profound as its pacing would suggest, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers delicately examines familial issues in an earnest fashion.



Total Count: 37


Audience Score

User Ratings: 856
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Movie Info

Wayne Wang's intimate drama A Thousand Years of Good Prayers stars Henry O as Mr. Shi, a Chinese man who, after the death of his wife, decides to travel to the United States in order to see his estranged daughter for the first time in over a decade. Their time together is awkward at first, seeing each other only at dinner when he cooks for her. Shi spends his days taking in the strange culture, improving his language skills, and making a friend in an Iranian woman. Eventually his persistent attempts to forge a connection with his daughter lead to some buried issues bursting forth between the pair. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for A Thousand Years of Good Prayers

All Critics (37) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (29) | Rotten (8)

  • Wang's new film suggests not only a return to form but also the revival of an old theme from his early Asian-American dramedies: the different ways that certain generations translate and adapt their cultural heritage

    Aug 8, 2009 | Full Review…
  • As in most of Wang's films, a memorable cast of characters compensates for a serviceable plot.

    Dec 16, 2008 | Full Review…
  • A keenly observed portrait of a parent and child estranged by geography, language, ideology and generation. In other words, a universal story of family in the age of globalization.

    Nov 20, 2008 | Rating: 3/4
  • A quiet work with Ozu-like structure and concerns, but remains more an intellectual exercise than one from the heart.

    Oct 18, 2008

    Todd McCarthy

    Top Critic
  • A Thousand Years of Good Prayers feels like a fragile wafer of a movie, but it fills you like a three-course meal.

    Oct 17, 2008 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • An intensely observed, small-scale family drama involving disagreement between generations.

    Oct 9, 2008 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for A Thousand Years of Good Prayers

  • Sep 29, 2008
    [font=Century Gothic]Sensitively directed by Wayne Wang, "A Thousand Years of Good Prayers" is a deeply moving film about Shi(Henry O), a retired rocket scientist and widower, going to vist his daughter Yilan(Faye Yu) in America. Yilan at first eats dinner with her father but soon gets annoyed and starts avoiding him which is strange behavior considering this may be the last time they ever see each other.[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]Her benign neglect reminded me of "Tokyo Story" in its lamenting of how badly treated the elderly are in society but in this case, it runs both ways, a reminder of how it is the generation gap that makes communication even more difficult than any language barrier. For example, despite his limited command of English, Shi manages well on his own and makes the acquaintance of others including a pair of Mormon missionaries. They quote from the Book of Mormon to which he replies with a quote from Marx.(I'll have to remember that for future reference...) This just goes to show that Shi is from a generation when Communism was still the orthodoxy in China. But now, he lives in a country that has changed massively and traveled to a strange country that he seeks to comprehend.[/font]
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 26, 2008
    A captivating movie that follows a lonely widower's journey to see his estranged daughter in America. Leaving poignant memories behind in China, Mr. Shi truly hopes that he can reconnect with his daughter, Yilan, and set upon a path where he can truly embrace the genuine meaning of family and fatherhood. He enters a country where the culture is stranger than the language itself, and surprisingly connects and befriends an elderly Iranian woman in a neighboring park. Mr. Shi realizes that in order to fully accept the present circumstances with his daughter, the past must also be fully recognized and accepted whether the many years that have come and gone. Henry O, Feihong Yu, Vida Ghahremani, and Pasha D. Lychnikoff stars. Worthy!
    Leo L Super Reviewer

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