A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (2008)



Critic 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.

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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
Art House & International , Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Henry O
as Mr. Shi
Faye Yue
as Yilan
Feihong Yu
as Yilan
Liz Mathews
as Business Woman
Ryan Sanson
as Plane Passenger
Patrick Treadway
as Homeless Man
Lonny W. Waddle
as City Bus Passenger
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for A Thousand Years of Good Prayers

All Critics (37) | Top Critics (17)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | November 16, 2011
Time Out
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | August 8, 2009
Top Critic

As in most of Wang's films, a memorable cast of characters compensates for a serviceable plot.

Full Review… | December 16, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | November 20, 2008
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Wang's approach is measured and restrained, his shots simple and immaculate, the emotional stakes deepening scene by scene. It's a miniature gem.

Full Review… | November 6, 2008
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

A quiet work with Ozu-like structure and concerns, but remains more an intellectual exercise than one from the heart.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for A Thousand Years of Good Prayers

Wayne Wang's hands-on subject about cultural conflicts between East & West. Sounds so out-of-date stereotype however.


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
Leo L

Super Reviewer

If I was able to stay awake, I would have enjoyed the movie more. The pace of the movie was SLOOOOOOWWWWW. Father and daughter do not communicate. I get it. But the father can easily talk with strangers. Annoying. I'd rather see more of the daughter. She looked hot.

Louis L
Louis L

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