Little Buddha

1994

Little Buddha

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

68%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 25

53%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,946
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Movie Info

Mark Peploe and Rudy Wurlitzer wrote this tale of an American boy who is believed to be the reincarnation of a Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader. Intercut into this story is a dramatization of the life of Siddhartha (played by Keanu Reeves). Cinematography by Vittorio Storaro; score by Ryuichi Sakamoto.

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Critic Reviews for Little Buddha

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (8)

Audience Reviews for Little Buddha

  • Sep 16, 2011
    Little Buddha is a story about the quest of a group of monks, led by Lama Norbu (Ruocheng Ying), to seek out the rebirth of his great Buddhist teacher, Lama Dorje (Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen). Lama Norbu and his fellow monks believe they have found a candidate of Dorje's rebirth within a boy named Jesse Conrad (Alex Wiesendanger) in Seattle. While Jesse is fascinated with the monks and their way of life, his parents, Dean (Chris Isaak) and Lisa (Bridget Fonda), are wary, and that wariness turns into near-hostility when Norbu announces that he would like to take Jesse back with him to Bhutan to be tested. Jesse's father changes his mind however, after one of his close friends and colleagues commits suicide, seeming to realize that there could be more to life than work and money. He then decides to go to Bhutan with his son. In Nepal, two children who are also candidates are encountered, Raju (Rajuh Lal) and Gita (Greishma Makar Singh). In the story, the Lama Norbu relates Buddha's life story, which is also enacted as a story line within the movie. In this depiction, a Hindu prince called Siddhartha (Keanu Reeves) sets on a journey to achieve greater awareness. As he progresses, he learns profound truths about the nature of life, consciousness, and reality. Ultimately, he battles Mara (a demon representing the ego), who repeatedly tries to divert and destroy Siddhartha. Through concentrated non-attachment and final realization of the illusory nature of his own ego, Siddhartha attains enlightenment. In the end, it is found that all three children are rebirths of the Lama Dorje, separate manifestations of his body (Raju), speech (Gita), and mind (Jesse). A ceremony is held and Jesse's father also learns the facts about Buddhism. Lama Dorje's rebirth represents the three most important aspects of life. His work finished, Lama Norbu enters a deep state of meditation and dies of his own will. As the funeral ceremony begins Lama Norbu speaks to the children, seemingly from a higher plane, telling them to have compassion. Just before the credits roll the children are seen distributing his ashes in various places. At the very end of the film credits, the sand mandala that was seen being constructed during the movie is destroyed, "with one swift stroke."
    Martin D Super Reviewer
  • Dec 15, 2010
    Great casting, really splendid, because when I think of Buddha I automatically think Keanu Reeves. Honestly I started to burst out laughing whenever Keanu spoke, it was pretty bad. Other than that I thought the story was interesting, and cute. I thought that it would have been more heavy handed, but it was quite passive in it's views of the world which I found refreshing.
    Marion R Super Reviewer
  • Dec 12, 2010
    Ultimately this fell flat for me. I was more interested in the segements relating Siddhartha's story than in any of the modern day goings on, even if Keanu Reeves seems to mainly be in the film to look pretty (which his delivery of lines suggests).
    Kylie B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 29, 2010
    I watched this film in my religion class for the first time, and it was enough for me. However, I do give it credit for staying biblically correct to the religion!
    KJ P Super Reviewer

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