Lan Yu (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes

Lan Yu (2002)

Lan Yu (2002)



Critic Consensus: A well-crafted love story, but it may be too simplistic for some.

Lan Yu Photos

Movie Info

Beijing, 1988. On the cusp of middle age, Chen Hangdong has known little but success all his life. The eldest son of a senior government bureaucrat, he heads a fast-growing trading company and plays as hard as he works. His loyal lieutenant Liu Zheng is one of the few who know that Hangdong's tastes run to boys more than girls. Lan Yu is a country boy, newly arrived in Beijing to study architecture. More than most students, he is short of money and willing to try anything to earn some. He has run into Liu Zheng, who pragmatically suggests that he could prostitute himself for one night to a gay pool-hall and bar owner. But Hangdong happens to be in the pool-hall that evening, and he nixes the deal. He takes Lan Yu home himself, and gives the young man what turns out to be a life-changing sexual initiation.
R (for strong sexual content, nudity and some language)
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Jun Hu
as Chen
Ye Liu
as Lan Yu
Su Jin
as Jingping
Li Huatong
as Liu Zheng
Lu Fang
as Yongdong
Li Shuang
as Weidong, Handong's Brother
Minfen Zhao
as Mrs. Chen, Hangdong's Mother
Zhang Fan
as Jian'er, the College Athlete
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Lan Yu

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (14)

Hu and Liu offer natural, matter-of-fact performances that glint with sorrow, longing and love.

January 16, 2003
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

The movie is gorgeously made, but it is also somewhat shallow and art-conscious.

Full Review… | October 17, 2002
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

It's probably worth catching solely on its visual merits. If only it had the story to match.

Full Review… | October 4, 2002
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

Assured, vital and well wrought, the film is, arguably, the most accomplished work to date from Hong Kong's versatile Stanley Kwan.

August 22, 2002
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

A beautifully crafted love story that should stand as a career breakthrough for the subtle Hong Kong stylist Stanley Kwan.

Full Review… | August 22, 2002
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

In the end, we are left with something like two ships passing in the night rather than any insights into gay love, Chinese society or the price one pays for being dishonest.

Full Review… | August 16, 2002
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Lan Yu

although the movie is less than an hour and half, it feels like so much longer (in a good way). you really get to know the two main characters in this love story. the fact that it's a gay romance has very little impact on the story. one of the better love stories i've seen in awhile.

Jerome Kare
Jerome Kare

This is a very ground-breaking love story to come from mainland China, and I respect it for that. However, comparing it objectively to other gay romance films, this one manages to have very slow pacing while still going through events too quickly for them, or the characters' feelings, to resonate like they should. I'll bet the story it's based on is much better.

Alyssa Nolan
Alyssa Nolan

Lan Yu (2002) "Its goodness is a decision for the mouth to make." A wealthy Chinese businessman and a struggling Chinese student trade sex for favors until the student’s affection grows too great and the businessman opts for marriage with an associate, tossing aside the relationship with the same sense of ethics he uses to run his business. Years later, following the businessman’s divorce, they meet again by chance. At the same time, corrupt practices within his business are discovered, and the businessman faces imprisonment, and possibly the death penalty. The businessman avoids imprisonment partly through the help of the student, who had saved the lavish cash gifts he had received during their initial relationship. True love emerges, but only fleetingly as tragedy waits just around the corner. The movie is based on a popular cyber story in China called Bejing story. An old story (myth) with a new twist, the film also offered a glimpse of life in China, where it is possible to see that their world isn’t all that different from our own. By the way, the film is banned in Mainland China due to the gay theme.

Rich Brown
Rich Brown

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