An Elephant Sitting Still

2018, Drama, 3h 50m

50 Reviews 100+ Ratings

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critics consensus

A remarkable debut that sadly serves as its creator's epitaph, An Elephant Sitting Still offers an uncompromisingly grim yet poignant portrait of life in modern China. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

A teenager injures a school bully by accident.

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Critic Reviews for An Elephant Sitting Still

All Critics (50) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (48) | Rotten (2)

  • The most audacious debut feature from mainland China since Wang Bing's nine-hour documentary West of the Tracks (2002).

    March 10, 2020 | Full Review…
  • I wanted to connect with it, but I am the monster who could not get into the four-hour tragic movie.

    September 24, 2019 | Full Review…
  • [Hu] has given us a triumph of bold sociopolitical critique and intimate human portraiture, and a reminder that you rarely encounter the one without the other.

    March 21, 2019 | Full Review…
  • One thing that you shouldn't expect from An Elephant Sitting Still is some artless, ragged cry of rage: despite its bleakness and its visual and tonal austerity, this is a film of extraordinary beauty, invention, and grace.

    March 21, 2019 | Full Review…
  • This is not the feel-good film of the year. And yet, the story builds towards a climactic trip to see the mythical elephant in Manzhouli, and old Wang Jin is eager to go along for the ride.

    March 8, 2019 | Rating: A- | Full Review…
  • While circumstances are claustrophobic and stifling, Bo's movie seems to balance that with strange and surreal impulses of the heart.

    March 8, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The most audacious debut feature from mainland China since Wang Bing's nine-hour documentary West of the Tracks (2002).

    March 10, 2020 | Full Review…
  • I wanted to connect with it, but I am the monster who could not get into the four-hour tragic movie.

    September 24, 2019 | Full Review…
  • [Hu] has given us a triumph of bold sociopolitical critique and intimate human portraiture, and a reminder that you rarely encounter the one without the other.

    March 21, 2019 | Full Review…
  • One thing that you shouldn't expect from An Elephant Sitting Still is some artless, ragged cry of rage: despite its bleakness and its visual and tonal austerity, this is a film of extraordinary beauty, invention, and grace.

    March 21, 2019 | Full Review…
  • The idea of using an immobile circus elephant (never seen) as a wised out Buddha who silently observes human follies play out around him as some sort of metaphor for happiness/salvation has a direct lineage link to Werkmeister Harmonies.

    February 13, 2021 | Full Review…
  • While the film toes the line of miserabilism, Hu's commitment to intimacy makes it feel more like an emotional and psychological audit than a cudgel

    July 30, 2020 | Full Review…

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