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The Flowers of War

Flowers-span-thumbstandard In 1937, as the Japanese army brutally invades the Chinese city of Nanking, an American mortician is trapped inside a western cathedral and vows to protect a group of young schoolgirls and 13 courtesans who are seeking refuge from the soldiers.
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Netflix Rating: 3.9
NYT Review
In “The Flowers of War," the director Zhang Yimou revisits the 1937 Nanjing massacre in a story narrated by a convent student taking refuge in a church. Read the review
Rotten Tomatoes: Rotten 41%
Critics' score: 41   Audience score: 75   Rotten Tomatoes page
Top Rotten Tomatoes Critics

"The Flowers of War" seems like a pretty good film until you begin to think about it. full review

Richard Nilsen, Arizona Republic

Veering from the sensational to the maudlin, this is a compromised epic that panders to the Chinese audience. full review

Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service

An unsettling mixture of spectacular brutality and sentimentality that might make even Steven Spielberg blush. full review

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail

The director's grip on the drama is often weakened by his penchant for creating spectacles. full review

Greg Quill, Toronto Star

All Zhang's splendor does is foster cognitive dissonance in an audience. full review

Wesley Morris, Boston Globe

A strange hybrid of "City of Life and Death" and "Father Goose" that nevertheless, in the hands of Zhang Yimou, musters a few striking moments. full review

Gary Thompson, Philadelphia Inquirer

A third of a million may be dead, but for our purposes, all depends on the survival of these young women, and the redemption of the alcoholic American. Do you get my drift? full review

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

I can't get it out of my thoughts, and I recommend it highly. full review

Rex Reed, New York Observer

"Flowers" abounds with well-worn movie archetypes and slathers on schmaltz. full review

Sheri Linden, Los Angeles Times

Affecting at times, but finally feels overblown and heavy-handed. full review

Walter V. Addiego, San Francisco Chronicle

[Yimou] turns the Rape of Nanking into a visually stunning melodrama. But the effect of such extreme contrast is unsettling to say the least. full review

Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News

Battle scenes are spectacular - great explosions! - but most of the screen time is taken up by a contrived and schmaltzy script with little emotional punch. full review

V.A. Musetto, New York Post

Human suffering reduced to visual showmanship. full review

Tim Grierson, Village Voice

Zhang Yimou revisits the Nanjing massacre of 1937 by making something resembling a backstage musical, with breaks for the occasional ghastly murder or rape. full review

Mike Hale, New York Times
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  • Release Year: 2011
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Runtime: 141 min
  • Available From: Nov 08, 2012
  • Queued by: 1510 people
Directed By
Yimou Zhang
Cast
Christian Bale, Xinyi Zhang, Ni Ni, Tony Dawei, Atsuro Watabe, Paul Schneider, Tianyuan Huang, Shawn Dou, Kefan Cao, Dawei Tong
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