• Released
  • September 21, 2007
  • Drama
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TV Guide

By Ken Fox
Chinese director Ann Hu follows-up her tepid 2000 debut "Shadow Magic" with another luscious historical drama that, thankfully, is a lot more interesting. The plot is no less melodramatic, but here melodramatics work along with the film's theme, not against it.
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By Andrew O'Hehir
Hu, a Chinese-American immigrant who made a mid-career switch from business to filmmaking, approaches these characters with genuine passion and compassion, and her evident talent shines through the timeworn material. Acting by all three principals is tremendous.
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The New York Times

The story seems to be occurring in a China of the imagination, an airless place at once sensually ripe and icily formal. Like “Far From Heaven,” it denies its characters and viewers the ecstatic release they crave.
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New York Daily News

By Elizabeth Weitzman
If aesthetics are a prime factor in your movie choices, you may get something out of Ann Hu's overwrought, but beautifully atmospheric, period romance.
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By Robert Koehler
An unappealing, stiff melodrama.
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New York Post

By V.A. Musetto
So beautifully filmed (as if through a gauze curtain), it is especially sad that the script doesn't measure up.
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Village Voice

The film plays like the work of a fifth-generation Chinese hack faking a lavish Hollywood saga on an indie budget: It's all soft focuses, sax flourishes, and silky slo-mos.
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49 out of 100
Mixed or average reviews
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.