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The Joy Luck Club Review

Other Critics provided by

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

  • 5.0

    out of 100

    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Like a flowering of talent that has been waiting so long to be celebrated. It is also one of the most touching and moving of the year's films.

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  • 58

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Ty Burr

    A sumptuous two-and-a-quarter-hour emotional epic built on one lachrymose climax after another. What little plot there is exists only to set up the next Big Cry.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    Fascinating and satisfying the way the diverse threads are knitted together into a single tapestry.

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  • 90

    out of 100

    The New York Times Elvis Mitchell

    Those unfamiliar with the book will simply appreciate a stirring, many-sided fable, one that is exceptionally well told.

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  • 90

    out of 100

    Variety Todd McCarthy

    Wang has made a dramatically confident move into the mainstream on his own terms with highly congenial material.

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  • See all The Joy Luck Club reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 15+

Poignant tale of Chinese-American moms, daughters.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film includes scenes of family expulsion and conflict, rape, child abandonment, parental death, spousal abuse (both physical and mental), and suicide. While not actually very racy, raunchy, or violent by today's standards, each story includes extremely upsetting material. This warning is more about emotional content than any graphic sex, violence, or language.

  • Families can talk about family and cultural differences. As the film revolves around the stories of four mother-daughter relationships, the film presents a good opportunity to talk about the nature of mother/daughter relationships. What are the similarities and differences between the kinds of conflicts present in the film and those that occur within your family? Parents and children could also discuss ways in which Chinese culture appears different than (or similar to) American culture. How does the shift from China to the United States change the ways that families interact with each other (or does it)? Do these characters have any added pressures put on them by their cultural heritage? (NOTE: This story is told in a combination of English, Mandarin, and Cantonese.)

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: This film tells the story of several very strong women; however, they each overcome oppression by some seriously bad people. While the women display physical and mental strength, undying family devotion, and abilities to persevere in terrible situations, others--often spouses or family members--are mentally, verbally, and physically abusive and altogether oppressive.

What to watch for
  • violence false5

    Violence: More emotional abuse than actual physical violence. The film does include the drowning of a baby, spousal abuse, implied rape, self-mutilation, and suicide.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Implied rape, one sex scene in long shot with no nudity.

  • language false3

    Language: Occasional swearing, but usually in subtitles and minor.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Nothing aside from casual drinking. A character overdoses after eating opium.