Chicago Tribune

By Michael Wilmington
It's a very classy, finely made film, and, as one watches it -- particularly those last sweeping scenes of political turbulence and escape -- one feels both pain at their (Merchant-Ivory) parting and grateful for what, together, they achieved.
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Entertainment Weekly

By Owen Gleiberman
I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that this oasis of romance amid the turmoil of Shanghai represents the way that Merchant and Ivory, for 40 years, saw themselves: as a sanctuary of calming, life-size taste in a movie culture grown coarse. It was often far from perfect, but I'll miss that sanctuary.
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Philadelphia Inquirer

By Carrie Rickey
Any resemblance between this film and "Casablanca" is purely deliberate.
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San Francisco Chronicle

By Mick LaSalle
This is Merchant-Ivory's kind of showmanship, the unflashy adult variety of movie magic that they made their hallmark.
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Rolling Stone

By Peter Travers
Richardson -- acting with her mother, Vanessa Redgrave, who plays her aunt, and her aunt Lynn Redgrave, who plays her mother -- finds the story's grieving heart. Fiennes is her match in soulful artistry.
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USA Today

By Claudia Puig
The film takes a long time to unfold, and some scenes feel inert. But ultimately, the conclusion is moving and satisfying.
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Chicago Sun-Times

By Roger Ebert
Fiennes and Richardson make this film work with the quiet strangeness of their performances; if they insist on their eccentricities, it's because they've paid them off and own them outright.
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The Hollywood Reporter

By Frank Scheck
The director has staged the elaborate production in his usual stately but impressive manner, and the production values boast the usual Merchant/Ivory stamp of quality.
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New York Daily News

By Jack Mathews
In any case, the movie moves only when she's (Richardson) in the center of it, and her complex performance as a woman balancing her dignity with her survival instincts is one of the year's very best.
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Boston Globe

By Ty Burr
A watchable disappointment. Sumptuous to look at, tastefully dull, and ultimately rather silly.
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60 out of 100
Generally favorable reviews
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.