The Scent of Green Papaya (Mi du du xanh - L'odeur de la papaye verte) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Scent of Green Papaya (Mi du du xanh - L'odeur de la papaye verte) Reviews

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September 26, 2017
viewed on 7/9/04 (Tues)

You freeze any frame of the movie and you will get a postcard picture. That is how beautiful the cinematography can be. In fact, I think the director is more in love in capturing the prettiest shot than telling a story. Well, according to Uncle Ebert, the story is about the growth of a girl to womanhood. Accepted... but the girl seems to be more of an observer of things happening to people around her.

For me, I like the therapeutic effects it evokes. I can imagine watching this after IRREVERSIBLE and BATTLE ROYALE (two most disturbing movies I've ever seen); it would be like having spa. Come to think about it, it would not be a bad idea to play this film at those spa centres.

Rating: C+
September 23, 2017
The Scent of Green Papaya is an almost plotless movie for better and for worse and I preferred the first two acts over the last one, but its almost silent approach with minimalist dialogue ultimately worked in its favor as the film is such a sensual, lovely experience that needs to be seen when in mood for slower, more artistic cinema. It also needs to be watched closely as its attention to detail is astonishing (the wonderful house, the vases with lizards, the frogs, the insect cage, the papayas) and that approach led to it being such an engrossing cinematic experience.
September 20, 2016
The second film I've seen from director Tran Anh Hung. "Norwegina Wood" was a nice film and this one is just as stunningly shot. We meet a ten year old girl that works as a servant in a house with two boys, the often absent father and another servant that lost her own daughter that would have been just as old as Mui now. She cares for Mui and she is like a new daughter for her - at least she is someone that makes her depression easier. The youngest boy in the house is making a lot of fuss and mischief as he often interrupts and finishes his deeds with a fart.

A film to observe. It looks great and the camera-work is terrific. I dig the silence and the crisp sounds, some music is very well placed too. A calm film with a perfect, slow pace - the story comes second here and that's impressive since it's really a very well-told growing up tale.

It's from 1993, but the looks of it makes me think of something from the later of the 2000's. The presentation is way ahead of it's time I guess, but probably also why it won the Golden Camera award in Cannes. Beautiful film that's lovely presented, with elements of nature and senses always being close.

8 out of 10 papayas.
November 21, 2015
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½ July 24, 2015
A great render for the eyes and senses
November 30, 2014
worst movie ever. worst waste of time ever. THERE IS NO PLOT.
November 2, 2014
Though I love Asian films, most of what I've seen has primarily consisted of Japanese and Korean films, with a handful of Chinese films. To date, I have only seen three Vietnamese films, including this one. After seeing this film (As well as the other two), I am more convinced than ever that I should check out more of what the country has to offer because The Scent Of Green Papaya is a stunning, beautiful, and magnificent film that is so much more than what its simple premise would suggest.

The story starts out in 1951 when a 10-year-old girl named Mui arrives at household to be a servant. The family seems nice enough, though, there is a lot of underlying drama between the husband and wife over the husband sometimes leaving and the death of their daughter years earlier, some strife among their three sons, and caring for the husband's aging mother.

The wife immediately takes a liking to Mui, since Mui looks a lot like her deceased daughter, which makes her treat her with a particular kindness. Mui does her duties as she is supposed to, but she seems to fascinated with the world around her, even in the smallest ways like watching ants, smelling cooked food, and observing all sorts of people around her. Everything seems to hold some sort of interest to her as she processes anything and everything, and also seems rather cheerful as well.

Even as the family experiences much strife and hardship, Mui continues her duties as a servant, while still wanting to experience, touch, and see the world around her with her endless fascination.

While the story is simple, it's hard to really nail it down at the same time. It's a very low key and quiet film, one that wants you to look at the world around you, much like its main character as you see through her eyes. It's a story about the beauty of the world, but also the sadness and hardship that comes with it. But it still wants to embrace life and see what it has to offer, while appreciating all the little things we would never really think about looking at.

The acting, while fairly low key, is still brilliant as it requires you to pay attention to all the little details and expressions of the characters to try and understand them. Even the child actors do an incredible job, which is extremely rare as most child actors are awful. They feel alive and you feel along with them, as well as experience their world with them - that's how good they are.

It's a beautiful and artistic film that is visually stunning, but also has a lot of depth that the plot deceptively hides under its simple-sounding exterior. There is a lot of human drama to be found in this film and what it has to say about life and the world around us in even the smallest of ways. It will bore people who aren't patient, but will reward viewers who don't mind a slower pace and more subtle tone to a film.

The Scent Of Green Papaya is a work of absolute brilliance. The story is marvelous, the acting is complex and engaging, the visuals are beautiful, the direction is stunning, and every aspect about it is pure cinematic joy and art. It's a marvel to both watch and experience and I recommend it to people who love a good art house film.
Super Reviewer
½ October 23, 2014
A gorgeous, poetic and delicate film that knows that little can be said and yet all can be conveyed with beautiful images and a wonderfully subtle approach to a character's life, and it is almost impossible to not feel enormously enchanted by the beauty and serenity of what we witness.
½ September 8, 2014
A gorgeous, gorgeous film that I'm happy to have finally struck off the list of shame, especially in the lovely Blu-ray presentation.

Well worth tracking down, give it a rental at the very least.
August 3, 2014
Good movie, i enjoyed it (TM) (TM)
December 2, 2013
Atmospheric and poetic.
½ October 2, 2013
I saw this years ago and it became a film I couldn't forget. Just watched it again and the tranquil pacing of a simple story is just wonderful.
October 1, 2013
Most excellent movie! It's been awhile since I've seen it! Think I shall watch it again :)
½ July 6, 2013
"Mi du du xanh - L'Odeur de la Papaya Verte" is the kind of wonderful film that offers a glimpse into everyday life somewhere and sometime a typical viewer doesn't know anything about. The film tells us the tale of Mui, a girl who grows up in two different families as their servant. Loved by the first family Mui faces a new situation in her adulthood when she gets transferred. She finds it difficult to adapt but her newfound comraderie with a young artistic musician in the house may offer her a chance to realize herself in a radical way. A servant gains the possibility to become something greater, a person in her own right.

The film runs for only 104 minutes, but still it manages to feel slightly tedious, but in a way captivating. Tran Anh Hung directs his script in an interesting way, utilizing beautiful cinematography even in very closed sets while allowing his lead actors to offer quirkily physical performances laced with subtle emotions. This is memorable cinema, even if the whole seems a bit unfocused at times.
July 5, 2013
Probably the first film from Vietnam I have seen. The film is about a Vietnames servant who finds simple things in life to keep her entertained. It's almost a silent film and offers a uinque view into Vietnam. Outstanding performance by the young Vietnamese actor.
Super Reviewer
June 20, 2013
Astonishing nature and human images decorate with impeccable subtlety the growth process of a girl that ends up finding love in Tran Anh Hung's beautiful masterpiece Mi du du xanh. A true delight for the senses with a thought-provoking musical score that may upset occidental viewers, the free-flowing and delicate nature of the story has the power to conquer both the heart and the mind of the viewer and find a warm place forever.

March 10, 2013
A movie so well made and so beautifully filmed you can definitely smell it. Its rythm is lighe the best of songs.
½ January 13, 2013
A beautiful film. Very simple but fun to watch.
½ January 4, 2013
The Scent of Green Papaya is a relish for the senses. It features an astonishing visual scenery and cinematography and shivering sounds that makes you feel like you are in the countryside or in a jungle. Really beautiful. And that's only right because the film is mostly about beauty. It also portrays a family's metamorphosis within a 17 year period and how tragedies changed them.
Super Reviewer
December 14, 2012
Not much to say about this film as I certainly enjoyed it. This is a visually poetic film. It simply relies on its visual and symbolism to tell its story and it is a sweet and gentle one at that. There's something Cinderella-esque about the film and seeing how Mui sort of grows up and transforms into much more than a "servant". So in that regard it is a solidly told story even if the dialogue is very minimalist. With that said, the film can sort of be a chore to sit through at times. Symbolism and beautiful visuals can only get you so far, but I still enjoyed the film, it's not perfect by any means but it is solid film nonetheless.
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