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Curse of the Golden Flower Review

Movies.com Critics

4.5

Dave White Profile

… stab-happy sprinkles on a cupcake of crazy. Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0
    70

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Wilmington

    It's a work by cinematic geniuses that reveals beauty and terror in a long-ago time with a virtuoso intensity. You won't soon forget its mad, lovely sights and sounds.

    Read Full Review

  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Curse of the Golden Flower is a watchable soap opera, but its marching-band martial-arts scenes are little more than weakly staged retreads of the ones in Zhang's "Hero."

    Read Full Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 15+

Violent, operatic saga of cruelty and revenge.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that kids who liked Hero or House of Flying Daggers will want to see this movie. But while Zhang Yimou directed all of them, this new film is very different -- it's less focused on the martial arts action than on adult themes like betrayal and revenge. Violence includes poisoning, swordfights, knifings, and armies of assassins mustered for combat on palace. There are plenty of bloody results all around.

  • Families can talk about the tension among the family members. How do jealousy and greed lead to betrayal? Does the film make a judgment about which of the characters is the most guilty, or do they all seem equally culpable? How do parents use their children against one another? How does the movie's grand display -- bright colors, sweeping costumes, dramatic entrances -- suggest opera? If you've seen the director's other movies, how does this one compare? Why do you think it's focused less on action and more on revenge?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: The emperor and empress plot against each another, using their children as pawns; corruption in palace among royals and servants; violent showdown leaves everyone hurt or dead.

What to watch for
  • violence false5

    Violence: The emperor is poisoning his wife with a fungus in her medicine (she coughs and faints occasionally); swordplay is swift, bloody, and climactic; characters have scars/brands indicating previous abuses; some one-on-one fighting (punching, slapping, kicking); assault by army of assassins features flaming arrows, hooks, spears, knives, and swords; a character stabs himself in the throat (he lives, with bloody bandages visible in later scenes); a character commits suicide by slashing his own throat (gruesome but brief).

  • sex false3

    Sex: The empress is having an affair with her stepson; Wan and Chan have secret affair (they're surprised while half-dressed); the empress' cleavage is frequently visible.

  • language false0

    Language: Not an issue

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue

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