Ju Dou - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Ju Dou Reviews

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½ February 10, 2017
Ju Dou is a romantic drama that feels like a Shakespearean play. The twists and turns of this story are fascinating and I loved how it messed with me emotionally. It had you rooting for certain people, but then there's a turn where suddenly you start to question if they've gone too far, but later it brings you back onto their side. The visuals are stunning, particularly the vibrant colors of all the fabric in the film. It looks beautiful despite the horrible quality of the DVD transfer that is currently available in the US. I thought the movie was a bit slow at the beginning and took quite some time before it got going, but once the relationships were all established it became much more interesting. I also think there are moments in the film where it indulges a little too heartily in melodrama. The plot certainly warrants some strong reactions from the characters, but it isn't played all that well by the actors. However, the rest of the performances were solid, and I felt like the personalities of the characters were all well-defined. I didn't love Ju Dou, because it is a lot of heavy drama without much levity, but I think it is a good movie that I would gladly watch again or recommend to others.
Super Reviewer
May 11, 2016
"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.
½ March 8, 2015
Seductive and symphonic, Ju Dou is a wonderful film contemplating forbidden "love" in 20's China.
½ February 14, 2015
Extrêmement lent mais jamais ennuyeux, Ju Dou vaut surtout pour son ouverture et la manière fluide de Zhang Yimou pour installer ses personnages et son intrigue et pour ses 20 dernières minutes, déchirantes et visuellement splendides. Gong Li, Li Wei et Zheng Ji'An sont particulièrement excellents. Dommage alors que le ventre mou du film soit si... mou.
½ October 17, 2013
A sad, haunting, and a beautiful film.
April 3, 2013
This was more melodramatic than I expected, but the over-the-top story was matched by the intense imagery, color, and themes. Described by some as a morality play, it shows us how freedom of choice has undesired consequences, especially in a time and culture where life is dictated more than lived. The makeshift transportation for a paralyzed character was especially creepy; that was balanced by the ingenuity of the mechanics behind the 1920s dye mill.
January 22, 2013
I had to watch this in my Contemp Chinese Soc class and was blown away. A touching love story set... somewhere, could be China, not sure ...it deals with many concepts. But when the kid uses the word "dad" near the middle of the movie, it will grab you by the nose-hairs and shout at you "I AM QUALITY" and you will cry. Trust me.
½ July 29, 2012
Another disturbing and accomplished piece from Zhang Yimou. Gong Li shines.
July 17, 2012
When they call this a tragedy, they mean it! Just a horrible, horrible. tragic story. I enjoyed it for the most part, but there were things that bothered me. Seems they should have been able to make Jin-Shan look like an accident and solved most of their problems early on. I kept yelling "idiots" at the screen.
October 7, 2011
recommended by criticker......93 rating.
½ April 10, 2011
Another masterpiece of Zhang Yimou.
½ March 15, 2011
Between an 8/10 and 9/10, this is sumptuous, passionate, visceral, visually beautiful, powerful, and poignant melodrama -- Chinese style.
March 9, 2011
One of Yimou's best from his great period, where he seemed incapable of making anything other than great films and as usual Gong Li is incredible.
February 15, 2011
Not bad. Must see if studying Chinese film or Zhang Yimou
Super Reviewer
January 10, 2011
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!
January 10, 2011
A very good movie shot in glowing technicolour, it is a tale of romantic and familial love in the face of unbreakable tradition is more universal than its setting (IMDb).
A lovely insight into Chinese traditions & rituals. I really liked the ending which was tragic and shocking to an exent.
½ December 14, 2010
So I didn't love the story but I can't deny that director Zhang Yimou is a master of his art and Gong Li a truly tremendous actress.

Ju Dou (Gong Li) is a young woman sold into a marriage with a barren and abusive man. However when she falls pregnant with her adopted nephew's child, their world becomes filled with lust, deceit and a seriously messed up little kid. With a story like that, it's no surprise that the film falls prey to an excess of overly dramatic moments, and while it often works, there were a number of moments where I found myself more bemused than emotionally affected. The love story is sincere, and the dynamic between the three leads largely successful, however the idea of falling in love with someone outside your highly abusive marriage as a bad thing is too loud and plain bad ethics. The fact that this film was banned in China for supposedly prompting women to rebel against their husbands seems highly ironic when the moral of the story seems to be that any relationship built on rebellion and lies is doomed to end in death and misery.

Gong Li leads the cast with a stirring performance that is entirely in keeping with the film's melodramatic tone. The fact that many of those high-drama moments work is largely down to Li who plays the downtrodden woman so well (see also Raise The Red Lantern, Curse of the Golden Flower). Here she evolves from the silent victim to the desperate seductress to a woman in love, and plays each of these characters with vigour and great power.

Around Li and her co-stars, director Zhang Yimou has created a visually impressive environment. The draped cloth of various colours makes for some nifty tricks as Yimou has clearly perfected the art of letting them fall through the air into pools of water in the most sensual and artistic of ways. Similarly he quite literally plays with fire, allowing the flames to lick the screen in several scenes, adding to the sense of danger in a most aesthetically pleasing way.

Thus while Ju Dou is no discredit to Yimou's impressive reputation, the film's questionable moral overtones prevent it from having the same effect as his other works. However Gong Li and the beautiful visuals still hold much for audiences to marvel at.
½ October 27, 2010
The brutal, impotent and miserly master has just bought his 3rd wife after the first two did not give him heirs. Ju Dou is a beautiful, well-built young woman who the master beats and tortures every night. The other person living in the household, but sleeping in the workshop of the dyeing shed isTianqing who is in his 40's, never been married and who has been working with the master since he was orphaned at a young age. Ju Dou asks Tianqing to rescue her, then seduces him...This is a beautifully filmed, but unrelentingly grim and melodramatic movie which could conceivably lead you to commit suicide by the time it is finished. :-) Four and a half stars.
September 17, 2010
Ju-Dou is another perfectly watchable Zhang Yimou film, but not one of his best. The most interesting part was the architecture of the dyeing house and how it pertained to the story: separating the characters from each other, providing hiding places and spying venues, and playing a key role in murder and attempted murder. The story itself wasn't that compelling and it developed predictably according to a fairly standard melodrama formula. The cinematography appeared to be stunning, but it's hard to say because the DVD looked like ass.
September 1, 2010
wow, what a dark drama, this was an intensely intriguing story. if you haven't seen a real non-action asian film, this or Raise the Red Lantern might be a good start because they're dark and Kubrickian.
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