The Last Emperor Reviews

April 26, 2018
The most startling achievement of The Last Emperor is that it accomplishes what seems to have eluded Bertolucci for some time. He has found the small in the large and, in many ways, he has created what many thought impossible -- an intimate epic.
February 17, 2015
As pure spectacle, "The Last Emperor" is a spellbinding peek behind the gate of a lost world.
January 7, 2014
It is a hesitant, conservative approach that yields great elegance and a rhythm that carries the viewer along. Yet the film is haunted by a sense of opportunities not taken, of an artist deliberately reining in his artistry.
January 7, 2014
If there is such a thing as voluptuous detachment, Bertolucci and John Lone have found it. Lone's achievement in his absorbing account of Pu Yi is to place him at a distance and yet make his plight totally involving.
January 7, 2014
There's probably a truly great movie in the story of Pu Yi, but The Last Emperor is not that movie. Still, what director Bernardo Bertolucci (Last Tango in Paris) has accomplished here is both ambitious and impressive.
February 22, 2013
As coolly lavish an epic as we may ever see.
September 7, 2011
The expanse of time is saturated with an expanse of visual beauty that feels absolutely right for the story.
February 20, 2009
It works astonishingly well.
February 20, 2008
Constantly absorbing and tremendously interesting.
June 24, 2006
John Lone is superb as the sad mediocrity; and if spectacle finally triumphs over sympathy, it is not without a decent struggle.
August 20, 2004
It's a tribute to the film's intelligence and its feeling for dialectics that it views both the Forbidden City and the detention center as prisons, and that when Pu Yi winds up as a gardener there's a sense of gain as well as loss.
April 9, 2004
There's no doubting its spectacular richness and heartfelt, deeply satisfying storytelling.
May 20, 2003
The Last Emperor is like an elegant travel brochure. It piques the curiosity. One wants to go. Ultimately it's a let-down.
January 1, 2000
We need more than elegant parallels and lavish production values. We need tension, characterization, drama.
January 1, 2000
A remarkable achievement.
January 1, 2000
Everything involving the life of Pu Yi was a waste. Everything except one thing: the notion that a single human life could have infinite value.