Ju Dou (1990) - Rotten Tomatoes

Ju Dou (1990)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Zhang Yimou's second feature is set in China during the 1920s. Gong Li stars as the title character, a young woman whom the wealthy, aging Yang Jin-shan (Li Wei) buys to be his bride. Due to his own impotence, Ju Dou cannot bear the son Yang Jin-shan desperately wants; as a result, their marriage becomes violent and bitterly unhappy, forcing the girl into the arms of the old man's nephew Yang Tian-qing (Li Bao-tian).


Li Gong
as Ju Dou
Li Wei
as Yang Jin-shan
Zhen Jian
as Yang Tian-bai (as a youth)
Baotian Li
as Yang Tian-qing
Zhang Yi
as Yang Tian-bai (as a child)
Zheng Jian
as Yang Tian-bai (youth)
Zheng Ji-an
as Yang Tian-bai (as a youth)
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Ju Dou

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (4)

As sumptuously cinematic as it is woefully fatalistic.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…
Washington Post
Top Critic

The film appealed to me for two reasons. First, because of its unabashed, lurid melodrama, in which the days are filled with scheming and the nights with passion and violence. Second, because of its visual beauty.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Powerful, poignant, and visually stunning, Zhang Yimou's Ju Dou was deservedly nominated for the Best Foreign Language Oscar.

February 19, 2011 | Rating: A | Full Review…

As well as having an eye for the dramatic - such as yards of cloth tumbling from a height or flames licking up a wall - Yimou also has a way of conveying the emotion of a scene with incredible brevity.

June 13, 2008 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…
Eye for Film

Conduzido com segurança por Yimou (ainda em início de carreira), o filme atravessa décadas e conta com um visual rico para narrar uma forte e trágica história de amor.

March 28, 2006 | Rating: 4/5
Cinema em Cena

Ju Dou is an emotionally fulfilling and viscerally rewarding adult film.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Audience Reviews for Ju Dou

"Ju Dou" tells the story of love between two people at the mercy of a cruel uncle and husband. Yang Tianqing (Li Baotian) is working for his uncle Yang Jinshan (Li Wei) at his textile mill where he dyes fabric. Tianqing learns that his uncle has purchased a new wife, this is his third, he had beat the other two to death for not being able to produce him a boy. It's no fault of these women, he's impotent and takes this anger out on these women. The new wife, and the new aunt to Tianqing, is a beautiful young woman named Ju Dou (Li Gong). Tiaqing becomes smitten with her, spying on her as she undresses and bathes. Soon, the two become lovers and she becomes pregnant with his son. Jinshan believes the kid is his until he becomes paralyzed and is forced to rely upon the two to take care of him. After several failed attempts at trying to kill the kid, he is put in a barrell high above the ground. He eventually comes to love the kid as his son when the kid accidentily refers to him as father setting about a chain of events that will end tragic. Beautifully filmed by Zhang Yimou on three-strip Technicolor. It has an aged feeling in it's beauty, but magnificently show it's yellows, golds and reds in such exuberance.

Joseph Boomhower
Joseph Boomhower

Super Reviewer

A tragic love story set against the colorful backdrop of a Chinese dye mill. The fantastic cinematography makes Ju-Dou a treat for the eyes even though the story is heartbreaking and sad. Highly recommended!

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

My first encounter with Zhang Yimou and it left a lasting impression. A must see for sure.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Ju Dou Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Ju Dou on our Movie forum!

News & Features