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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½ December 8, 2012
Spectacular visuals. One of the best works of cinematography. Although the mostly silent atmosphere of this film is hard to sit through, it's still a captivating portrayal of Vietnamese life.
½ December 2, 2012
If you really love films and you like art, you'll love this movie; if you don't, watch it anyway because it might change your opinion. Visually stunning. A lot of people complain about its tortoise-crawling pace but this film needs to be savoured slowly. It's about a mundane life of a servant girl, nothing exciting will ever happened to her but this allow the cinematography shines and unveils her seemingly boring life under a colorful kaleidoscope. Relax and don't anticipate or think too much, let yourself submerge in the experience entirely. This is indeed a style-over-substance film alright but if style-over-substance is a genre then this is one of its top dogs; no contest.
October 8, 2012
Slow as molasses, but a visual treat.
October 7, 2012
The Scent of Sweet Papaya is a Vietnamese film directed by Tran Anh Hung. The story is of a poor servant girl working for a more affluent family.

The parts of this film that are of note is mainly the lack of talking. Dialogue is rather basic and I believe it was the idea of the director to allow the story to take place by the actions of the drama as it unfolded. The actors are not notably over the top emotional except for key spots in the film. What is left is the ambient sounds and backgrounds that help portray and sort of emotion. Perhaps this was intended so the story could be told to an international audience. It would explain the need to cross the language barrier in this way.

As slow moving as the story can be, with its long pans, scene introductions, and the like, it would be difficult to think that having scenes that stay static for any length of time longer than needed would have any effect. However, Hung pulls this off quite well. There are scenes that end in a dead stop. Nothing moves. The scene hangs there for what seems like a second or two longer than it should. However, so does the emotional response to the halt. It is as if Hung is saying, "You should be feeling something here."

Another note about the dead stops is they do not happen during peak moments of storytelling climaxes. They happen in the little subplots. Is this done as an emotional appetizer for the audience?
September 5, 2012
This has to be one of the most beautiful films I've ever seen.
September 3, 2012
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+
August 15, 2012
Tran merges the narrative sense and sensibility of a stage play with all the detail and technical tools of modern film. Ingredients are gently simmered, seasoned with an alternately dissonant and harmonious score, and never stray from their metaphoric bed of rice.

This Vietnamese tale of manners is served beautifully, with ceremony and decorum, always pleasing the palate ( and the palette ) . Eat this movie !
August 11, 2012
This was a beautiful movie, like an art poem. The music worked harmoniously with scenes to create a artful atmosphere.
½ August 5, 2012
Utterly pointless. Almost as bad as Norwegian Wood.
August 4, 2012
A charming story about a young servant and the family she cares for. It's a day-in-the-life kind of movie with a high level of believability... the kind that years later makes you think you've lived it before.
½ July 1, 2012
Not my type of movie.
June 23, 2012
It is a true aesthetic beauty of art. But I only took it for a lesson about filmmaking, not a movie itself. It seemed like then first time Vietnamese director put everything he knew from school into "Papaya," everything but the story.
May 5, 2012
I enjoyed this Cinderella story set in Vietnam in the early fifties and sixties. The cinematography is noteworthy and love conquers all, always, no matter the culture.
April 21, 2012
Horrendous camerawork and unfitting soundtrack in addition to outrageously bad writing, nothing but an exposition of pretentious poetry
½ April 15, 2012
Great adaptation of using music to display emotions within the film instead of words.
March 26, 2012
The Green Papaya is about the beauty of life and how one's kind demeanor in everything they do will ultimately prove fruitful in the scope of nature and our universe. It's the story of Mui's life, a young peasant girl whose life takes a turn for the better for no other reason other than these forces of the universe at work. Everything about this film is done completely from Mui's perspective, from the visuals to the sound design. Mui see's the beauty in everything and lives life completely in the present often observing the smallest details of life, not taking anything for granted. The cinematography is very observant , often peering through windows, or over ledges, watching various characters actions, really capturing for the viewer how Mui seems to view the world. Tran also uses extreme closeups of insects and plant life to show the beauty in the miniscule and often overlooked things which Mui treasures. It's a very simple film with beautiful theme, and though I think it's my least favorite Tran so far, It definitely had lots to offer.
March 21, 2012
The basic storyline (if you could even call it a storyline) is about 10 year old Mui (Trn Nu Yn-Kh) who works as a servant in Vietnam during the 1950's. This movie tried desperately hard to reach some kind of aesthetic theme about this young girl who appreciates the simple things in life. With a mistress who takes to the girl because she reminds her of the daughter she lost to illness, a husbands philandering ways and disappearing for days at a time, and the brat son who constantly harasses Mui, the elements were all there for a decent story. But again, the film got so caught up in the so-called "aesthetic" theme about the girl gawking at frogs and papaya seeds that the storyline gets lost altogether. Also, there is little to no dialogue, and there are more than a few gaps in the story which makes it hard to follow what it going on. With so much focus on symbolism and a theme of seeing and appreciating the simpler things in life, there is no substance and no character development, and there is pretty much nothing about the movie that engages you into the story or the characters. Overall this film was like watching paint dry with someone bashing you over the head about how pretty the paint is.
March 16, 2012
considering this movie is 20 years old, its timeless and plays like a Disney-like Cinderella story. I found it amazing at how this movie captures the pure innocence of a child. Even though the main character serves her caregivers, scrubs their floors, cooks their food, cleans their belongings, she manages to find pure joy in the unnoticed things. Like the smell of morning or the papaya tree, the frogs when they come out at night, the gratitude and appreciation she gets. It was very refreshing to see all that in a movie, when nowadays cruelty, violence, or special effects take precedence over anything that is simply authentic.
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