Little Buddha - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Little Buddha Reviews

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September 8, 2016
Little Buddha opens with an intriguing story that follows an ambitious attempt to blend modern society with ancient religion. Unfortunately, the rest of the film is executed forcefully beneath its harmonizing and beautiful Eastern score. Its lack of memorable scenes and character development exposes its inevitably long running time later in the film; as soon as the foreigners arrive the land of Bhutan, I find it difficult to empathize or sympathize with any of the characters because none of them are developed well enough to draw any sort of connections. The narration abruptly swifts from linear (with flashbacks) to borderline experimental in its climax. Keanu Reeves as Prince Siddhartha/Buddha succeeds in his mysterious look and confidence, but lacks sophistication to guide and inspire further. Overall, Little Buddha is a promising film that begins with two great stories, but unable to provoke its audience to conclude the two stories into a memorable experience.
May 10, 2016
Little Buddha reminded me of 'The Princess' Bride' but that it tells it's story in a more down-to-earth, realistic & emotional kind of fashion. Keanu Reeves is always a delight to watch as well.
½ April 8, 2016
The story has two plots one tells of a Buddhist priest searching for the reincarnation of his dead teacher, while the other tells the story of Siddhartha, the Buddha. The story starts with the n modern-day Tibet and a monk, Lama Norbu, who receives a letter telling him that the reincarnation of his teacher may have been found. When he go to follow the news another monk tells him that he had a dream that their old teacher led him to the same empty spot on a hill over and over again and he point at the hill. One day monk came to the same spot that he had dreamed about and saw a house there. A family lived there with the child name Jesse and monk believe that Jesse is their teacher reincarnated. The monks visit Jesse and gave him the book about Buddha. Jesse's father came to the monks and calls the story of Buddha a myth and while he respect Tibetan culture and religion he does not believe in reincarnation. The monk tries to explain reincarnation to Jesse's father. The monk tells Jesse's father that if Jesse goes to Nepal with them he can become a strong figure in Tibetan culture. Jesse's father got angry and took his son and left. On his way he received a call that his friend and business partner Evan died in car accident. This changed his mind he came home and told his wife that he thinks Jesse should go to Nepal with the monks .he will also go with Jesse. There were also two other candidates for the reincarnated teacher Raju and Geeta. Lama Norbu goes to the Oracle to find out which child is the reincarnation of their teacher. After finding the reincarnation of the teacher Lama Norbu tells Jesse's father that it's his time to rest and he is at the peace now. The highlight of the movie was flashback from Siddhartha s life I think it was done perfectly. They also changed the colors when the present-day scenes from Nepal and the flash-backs to the story of Buddha, everything was warm and done in oranges and reds while all present scenes were done in blue and grayish color. Acting was really good by all actors but my favorite was Siddhartha (Played by Keanu Reeves) gives a balanced performance and never goes overboard.
This movie relates to world religion because it has all the information about Siddhartha and how he became Buddha. This movie helps me visualize what I learned in my religion class and read it in the book. This movie also helped me visualize the way people used to dress up back in that time and helped me get into to see the Buddhist culture. This movie helped me a lot with learning about recreation in Buddhism. This movie is very good to learn about Buddhism. It was really educational movie and perfect for world religion class because it did help me learn more about Buddha.
½ February 12, 2016
I can't believe this is by Bertolucci. It's so bad I stopped watching half an hour into the movie. The dialogues are ridiculous. The plot is ridiculous. Its presentation of Buddhism is as superficial and full of cliches as you could get. I blame movies like this for the grossly romanticised and inaccurate understanding of Buddhism in the West.
December 9, 2015
The movie Little Buddha follows the journey of Lama Norbu, a lama at the Taro monastery in Bhutan through his journey of finding the reincarnation of his teacher, Lama Dorje, who passed away 9 years ago in the city of Seattle. After years and years of searching, Lama Norbu arrived at the Konrad household and informed Lisa Konrad, that Jesse, her 7 years old son, may be the reincarnation of Lama Dorje. At first, Jesse's parents were although interested by the idea and respectful especially Dean who sees about Lama Dorje's religion, they were quite doubtful, but after the death of Dean's close friend, Evan, everything changed, their way of seeing things changed and of course their view on Buddhism changed as well. Believing that reincarnation is actually possible gave them a sense of hope and helped them recover from their loss. There was another storyline about the story with a retelling of the life of Prince Siddhartha, who grew up to become the Buddha.

Based on the Buddhist faith, little Buddha is a blend of the Eastern and Western culture. It contrasts the difference in the lifestyle and belief of the East and West. Yet it also brings the 2 sides of the world together in some way. Bertolucci brought color to Buddhism, which can often be a bland topic to make a movie about by telling it in a modern society while hatching the origin, traditions and the 'informational' parts of Buddhism in the film. By doing so, Bertolucci brought the viewers a good amount of information while not losing their attention like many other movies on this topic does.

Little Buddha has elements of liberation within it, transforming and relating Buddhism to each and every one of us and our modern world without losing the essense of Buddhism and introducing the audience to the fundamental core for example the idea of reincarnation and the origin of Buddhism.

However, some parts of the film did seem a little superficial at times, some parts of the film simply was not very articulate. For example they way they located the Konrad family. In the movie, Lama Norbu's student dreamed that Lama Dorje led him to the Konrad house, which is somewhat of an absurd reason to believe that Jesse is the reincarnation of Lama Dorje.
Over all, I liked the movie, despite the fact that I found some parts a little bizarre, I would give it a 8 out of 10. It opened up a new horizon for me in terms of my knowledge and thinking on Buddhism, so if you would like to learn more about Buddhism but would also like it to relate to our modern life, the movie 'little Buddha' is a great choice.
August 5, 2015
While I like everybody involved in this beautiful mess I've always been astounded that I made it all the way through this atrocious thing.
February 12, 2015
Enchanting! Children's roles were poorly written and detracted from the film!
November 29, 2014
gr8 to look at that's about all
November 11, 2014
Little Buddha Movie Review

Plot Summary

This story begins in Tibet. This Buddhist priest (lama) sees several signs that lead him to believe that a teacher he had and adored several years ago may have been reincarnated. The lama goes from Tibet to Seattle to see if this young white boy is the same person. He meets the boy and the boy has several characteristics that the lama's teacher had. The two become friends.
The lama tells the boy the story of the birth of Buddhism and also how the young prince Siddhartha who eventually began to be called Buddha. The movie goes back and forth between the search for the lama's teacher and ancient Nepal.
World Religion
This movie relates to world religion because it starts with the birth of Buddhism. Our textbook details the founder of the Buddhist dharma, a historical figure named Gautama Siddhartha. He is formally known as The Buddha. His father was King Suddhodana.
The movie show how Buddha's father tried to shield him from certain unpleasant things about the world but he was curious about them so he snuck out to see what he could find out. King Suddhodana always wanted to ensure that his son would follow in his footsteps and would one day become King of the World. That's why he went great lengths to insulate his son from those troubling aspects of the world that inspired some people to abandon the worldly life for a religious calling. Siddhartha's mother died seven days after he was born.
The main focal point of the contemporary part of the movie is about the search for the reincarnation of the teacher. The Buddha had radical teachings of the Dharma and they went against the prevailing beliefs of his time. An example is reincarnation. He said there was no such thing as a permanent soul or atman. . He said that he only knew what he himself had experienced and that impermance was the reality we should awaken to alleviate our suffering.
This movie was interesting and made me somewhat more knowledgeable about the beginnings of Buddhism.

Brodd, Jeffrey et al. Invitation to World Religions. Oxford: University Press, 2013.
½ May 30, 2014
Tibetan monks undergo a special mission searching for the reincarnated version of the great Buddhist lama in suburban Seattle. A couple other children are in consideration and in the end three children are all bestowed the honour. I guess that's what happens when it really is too close to call. Nicely shot but ultimately never achieves what it sets out to do, although is a sometimes interesting look into a different culture.
May 17, 2014
Beautiful film, if you can overlook the poor acting.
February 17, 2014
For my movie review I chose to do "Little Buddha". The movie was based on a monk who was well renowned within the Buddhist community passing away and his fellow monks trying to find the child he was reincarnated into. Throughout the movie the monks were reading one of children who might possibly be this famous monk reincarnated a book called "little Buddha". The book was based on Buddha himself and his journey and struggles to find nirvana. The end of the movie came with a bit of a twist, in order to find out which child may the reincarnation of the monk each child was given different test to determine which one possessed the spirit of the monk. By the end of the movie all of possible candidates each possessed the qualities. They were all deemed the reincarnation of the monk.
February 15, 2014
Plot Summary
In the movie Little Buddha a little male child has been sought out by Tibetan monks who think that he is the reincarnation of a past lama and is the Buddha. The boy takes a journey to India in search of knowing if he is the Buddha.

World Religion
Buddhism is one of the largest religions in the world. With its unique way of being kind, having peace and being one with people and nature, Buddhism is truly a way of life. I am currently studying Buddhism in a course and it talks about the enlightenment of the Buddha. I watched Little Buddha by Bernardo Bertolucci recently. The basis of the movie was the boy Jessie's mother being approached by Tibetan monks, the Buddha finding his way to enlightenment and is Jessie the reincarnation of a lama and is he the Buddha.
Jessie is a little boy that lives in Seattle with his mother and father. One day at his school playground, a monk approached his mother about talking to her and her son. The Lama which died gave the monk a vision that the next Buddha would live in a house on the hill. The monk visited Jessie and gave him a book on Buddhism and wanted to mentor him. Later, the monk wanted Jessie to come to India to see if he was the Buddha.
The Buddha is Siddhartha Gautama who was born a prince. Before his birth, his mother Queen Maya had a vision of a baby elephant with her. Right before giving birth she fell into a trance that pulled her deep into the woods. She began to have labor pains and the tree bowed to her for her own support. Siddhartha was born and instantly started to walk. As he walked blossoms were growing from his footsteps. His father King Suddhodana shielded him from pain and suffering. As he grew up, Siddhartha heard a song of pain, he wanted to know what it was, pain. He never went outside of his palace because he had everything at his fingertips. He saw old age, sickness and death for the first time. He wanted to put an end to suffering. One night everyone was in a deep sleep and he vanished. He went to meditate for six years and nothing happened until he heard a teacher speak to his students about sings not being too tight or to loose. He then found enlightenment. Though many trials came with Mara the Tempter, the Buddha prevailed to end suffering. But will Jessie be the Buddha when there are two other prospects?
Jessie and his father went to India to talk with the monks and see if he was the Buddha. With the two other children, he thought there was just one. In the end all three of the child had the Lamas traits and all three of the children were the Buddha.
In conclusion, Little Buddha was an amazing story about of the Buddha came about and how he gained enlightenment. The Buddha cared about others more than himself and he wanted to end all suffering forever by teaching the power of enlightenment and ending sickness, old age and death. With these things one would be reincarnated and live again.
January 20, 2014
Good movie for children to educate them on a beautiful eastern religion. It's conceptual premise is weakly portrayed in the story's writing. The one thing I'd say if monks came to my door and said they wanted to bring my son to Tibet is: "Wtf? This is insane?" Id have to go to the fridge, grab a cocktail, breathe deeply, and sit these monks down for a long talk. This is not an entertaining movie for adults. Any right minded adult would be watching this and continuously distracted by the unrealistic personalities of the characters. What ashame... Could have been a neat fantasy story -
December 7, 2013
A compelling and well construction about life of Siddhartha.
½ November 4, 2013
Monks journey from Tibet to Seattle to look for a little boy named Jesse they believe to be a revered Buddhist Teacher Lama Dorje reincarnated. The little boy lives in an average Seattle family; his mother is a teacher and his father is an architect. The mother and father are unsure of the monks, especially since they want to take him back with him until the father experiences a personal tragedy. Jesse loves learning about the monks and the beginning of the movie tells and intertwines the story of Prince Siddhartha and how he reaches his enlightenment and how he becomes known as Buddha. It shows the signs that led him to become a great prophet, how he reaches the middle way and his battle with Mara the Tempter. At the end of the movie you learn that all of the children are in fact Lama Dorje Reincarnated; they just manifest different sects of his body. speech and mind.
I found this movie to be very informative since the story line that is intertwined in it shows the life and times of Buddha. It Accurately portrays his birth, how he was destined for greatness and all the trials and personal journeys he went through to achieve enlightenment, so he could become "The Awakened one". Prince Siddhartha did live a very lavish lifestyle, surrounded in all the excess you could possibly want and this movie portrays that very well. I think watching Little Buddha was an excellent Visual Companion to CHAPTER 5 on Buddhism! It really helped me understand and appreciate his story even more.
October 15, 2013
Little Buddha is about Buddhist monks, from Tibet, that come to Seattle to look for the reincarnation of Lama Dorje, their leader. These monks think that Lama Dorje was reborn a year after his death. Nine years later, they believe that a young American boy named Jesse Conrad could be a candidate. Jesse is the son of Dean and Lisa Conrad. Dean is the architect that built his family's home in the area that Lama Dorje pointed to in one of the monk's dream.
Once Jesse meets the monks, they give him a book. Lisa, Jesse's mom and Lama Norbu shared a role in reading and informing Jesse about the Buddha. Prince Siddhartha's life is portrayed through this book during this movie. Prince Siddhartha, also known as Buddha, was born into royalty. He lived a very comfortable life before he set out to solve all suffering. During his journey, Siddhartha defeated Mara, an ego demon, and reached enlightenment. Accomplishing his goal, Prince Siddhartha became Buddha and began to teach what he learned.
As Jesse becomes fascinated with the monks, the Buddhists invite Jesse and his family to visit Bhutan in order to test Jesse. At first, Jesse's parents denied this trip, but after one of Dean's friends commit suicide, they thought it would be good for Dean to get away, and spend time with Jesse. Once Dean and Jesse got to Nepal, they find out that there are two other candidates. All three kids interact with each other and saw that they had a lot in common. By the end of this movie, the monks conclude that all three kids are reincarnations of Lama Norje; each being his mind, speech, and his body.
This movie explains the beliefs of Buddhism in a simple yet entertaining way. Little Buddha demonstrates the characteristics of meditation and yoga while providing a background on where it originated. This movie, answers any questionable ways of the Buddhist and does a very god job on giving an explanation on why they do what they do. Yeah meditation and yoga helps relaxes, but this movie shows that Buddhism is about working on you from the inside to the out. This movie relates to World Religions, because it depicts the background and history of Buddhism.
½ July 15, 2013
At first, I was incredibly sceptical of this movie, but it's actually quite compelling. At first, I questioned the plot, particularly the fact that it revolves around an American boy. But after a while, I noticed that it allowed for some brilliant chemistry within the main cast. The film also offers a fantastical re-telling of the story of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha up to his battle with Mara. I may be an atheist, but even I thought it was a good story, at least because of how it was told in the movie. Perhaps the film's most shining quality is its presentation. Whether it's the main story, or the story of the Buddha, the film offers a great atmosphere to keep you going for over 2 hours. Overall, with nice characters, an unbelievable yet interesting premise, and a powerful atmosphere, this is one of those films you have to watch in order to understand.
½ July 15, 2013
This film actually has a nice presentation of the story of Buddha's life between his birth and the day he attained enlightenment, though I find one of the central premises, a Tibetan Lama being reincarnated in the body of a young boy from Seattle, hard to believe, and I don't think I can shake off that disbelief. In general, the Seattle setting somewhat irks me, though I like how the director uses the opportunity to evoke childhood fantasy (things like "Lama Thunderbolt" and "Land of the Thunder Dragon" should evoke a child's imagination easily).
June 28, 2013
A good watch. An interesting story with some good performances. The theme at times seems to get lost especially when they're introducing the philosophical elements.
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