Not One Less (2000)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Teacher Gao loves the students in his poor village and is devoted to educating them in the hope of their greater futures. When he is called away to tend to his dying mother for a month, the Mayor calls in an inexperienced 13 year-old replacement, Wei Minzhi; much to Teacher Gao's dismay. Teacher Gao cannot stand the thought of losing anymore students: he has already lost twelve to ever-increasing attrition, and he promises Wei an extra 10 yuan if she succeeds in ensuring that upon his return, there will be not one less. Wei's difficult mission to fulfill Teacher Gao's wish and her own concern for the welfare of the children begins.
Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Sony Classics

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Wei Minzhi
as Wei Minzhi
Zhang Huike
as Zhang Huike
Tian Zhenda
as Village Chief
Gao Enman
as Teacher Gao
Feng Yuying
as TV Receptionist
Li Fanfan
as TV Host
Liu Hanzhi
as Zhang Huike's Mother
Sun Zhimei
as Sun Zhimei
Zhang Yichang
as Mr. Zhang
Xu Zhanqing
as Brick Factory Owner
Ma Guolin
as Bus Station Man
Wu Wanlu
as TV Station Manager
Liu Ru
as Train Station Announcer
Wang Shulan
as Stationery Store Clerk
Fu Xinmin
as TV Station Director
Bai Mei
as Restaurant Owner
Zhang Mingshan
as Student
Jiao Jie
as Student
Rong Huimin
as Student
Sun Zhiwei
as Student
Ming Xinhong
as Student
Tian Xuewei
as Student
Li Mei
as Student
Li Lingyu
as Student
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Critic Reviews for Not One Less

All Critics (43) | Top Critics (10)

This thematic 'lesson' is served up with non-didactic grace complemented by tiny bursts of humour.

Full Review… | March 22, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

With Not One Less, Zhang Yimou has fashioned what feels like an uncannily accurate portrait of a culture where Communist ideology has vanished like a brief dream, as traditional community values clash with the burgeoning cult of money.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Village Voice
Top Critic

Small movie, big impact.

December 31, 1999
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

Despite its deliberate austerity, Not One Less is extraordinarily rich.

December 31, 1999
New York Times
Top Critic

The Chinese director Zhang Yimou has a rare gift for dramatizing highly theatrical stories in highly naturalistic settings.

December 31, 1999
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

It's an excellent movie for kids, because it is about how amazing children can be.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Not One Less

Rating: 82% Dramatic, realistic, and touching, Not One Less is a perfect example of how films should look into real-life problems in the world.

Mo Brown
Mo Brown

This is a small film. It's probably intended for a domestic Chinese audience. We have a 13 yr old middle school student brought to a small village school to substitute teach for one month. She has no training. She takes the job on the promise of payment. Very young, primary school students have been dropping out to work. These children appear to be about age 10, some younger. She is promised an extra payment if no other students leave while the regular teacher is gone for the month. One boy does leave for a nearby city to look for work. His widowed mother is ill and in debt. The family needs additional income. The 13 yr old teacher sub decides to go find him and bring him back. The movie details her trials and tribulations. The film is mildly interesting. It is set in the 1990s. The contrast between rural and urban Chinese is explored. Our heroine displays extraordinary dedication and effort to finding and retrieving her wayward student. There is an uplifting tenor to the movie and our young heroine as a whole. It was an OK trip to the flics.

ray h
ray h

Lovely film about a teacher's mission to ensure that children are still educated when he is challenged with a personal responsibility for a month.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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