I Am Not Madame Bovary

Critics Consensus

I Am Not Madame Bovary's sly social commentary and well-constructed story anchor director Feng Xiaogang's visually experimental approach.

83%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 52

70%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 578
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Movie Info

Li Xuelian and her husband Qin Yuhe stage a fake divorce to secure a second apartment in the city reserved by the government for single people. Qin remarries six months later - as agreed - but to a different woman. Furious, Li files a lawsuit with the county court but loses the case. Refusing to accept the court's findings, Li appeals to the chief justice, the county chief, and even the mayor, but fails at every turn. After Qin publicly accuses Li of being a "promiscuous woman" because she was not a virgin on their wedding night, Li is driven back to the courts to redeem her reputation. Li makes her way from county to city, enduring one trial after another, until she decides to make her appeal in far-off Beijing. Ten years go by, and the cases of Li's divorce and her ruined reputation have not been resolved. Li has continued to travel to Beijing every year but must face those who wish to quash her efforts every step of the way.

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Critic Reviews for I Am Not Madame Bovary

All Critics (52) | Top Critics (13)

  • A film that luxuriates, through that beguiling round frame, in breathtaking, never-seen-before screen imagery.

    May 26, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Kevin Maher

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • A comedy that rightly demonstrates the sad truth of China's bureaucracy and prejudice.

    May 26, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • The satirical bite dissipates a little as the story drags on, though a powerful, emotional coda makes it worth the wait.

    May 26, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Steve Rose

    Guardian
    Top Critic
  • All in all this is quite something, gradually building to a jawdropping final scene.

    May 22, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • It's a pleasure to look at the screen and to watch the artistry of the entire creative team. But there's a forbidding quality to the entire enterprise.

    Nov 18, 2016 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The shapes are a distraction. However, what's happening within them is compelling enough to overcome the stylistic overkill.

    Nov 17, 2016 | Full Review…

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