How can such a sad and depressing film make me feel so happy and hopeful to be alive? The phenomenal balancing act Yimou performs between these two extremes is part of why I count this film among my favorites of all time. A moving, educational, gut wrenching, whimsical, sweeping epic that is unafraid of being as dramatic as the historical events it chronicles actually were. This movie is crazy underrated.
An engrossing, compassionate film about a family that's just trying to elad a tranquil life in the midst of tumultuous times. Zhang Yimou plays it safe by staying away from the more disturbing aspects of 20th-century Chinese history, but the plot feels real and the characters are immensely believable.
What an experience, an intimate and emotional film, and another great film from Zhang Yimou. Everything is close to perfect, the casting, the cinematography, well nearly everything. The film suffers from an uneven first half and an amazing second half. The film could have and should have been longer to increase the scope of the film.