MovieChat Forums > Raise the Red LanternĀ (1991) Discussion > meaningless, boring movie - why is it su...

meaningless, boring movie - why is it supposedly good?

i just saw the movie - it was so so slow and had no story/plot and ended with no logical completion. why is this movie touted to be so good? i think "house of flying daggers" was way better than this, it had a plot and the ending was phenomenal.
this felt like a boring documentary with every scene thrice as long as it needs to be making it a painful, boring viewing experience.i gave it a 4/10 rating.
maybe this movie is meant for artsy people only and not to the general masses? international awards - i do not care, they give awards to abstract movies all the time.
i want to know, what did people really like in this movie?
beyond the fact that people have different tastes, there must be reasons why people like this.



Hey, what a coincidence... I just watched this movie for the first time as well! However, I must say my reaction is quite different than yours. I thought it was a masterful motion picture. Maybe not QUITE as good as it's hyped up to be, but still very powerful in its own right.

Why was it good? Well, for one thing, I found the story to be riveting. Slow-burning, yes, but riveting. It's all about being trapped in by an inadequate and antiquated social system; it doesn't take much of a leap of the imagination to see this as a parable of modern Chinese society and customs. It's a thematically rich and epic tale, and I guess it just worked for me.

But even more key to my enjoyment were the technical aspects of the film. I'm huge into cinematography, and the camerawork on display in this movie is nothing short of virtuoso. The genius mixture of angles and vivid colors and everything all together... it just blew me away.

And also, the sound was often quite gorgeous. The one thing that sticks out in my mind the most at this moment is the little foot-massage tool. The massage scenes seemed to go on forever, yes, but that sound was just so sweet and soothing that I didn't mind in the least. It really drew me into the fabric of the film, to a place that was so peaceful and relaxing... it made me almost feel as if I was the one getting my feet massaged... and it felt beautiful...

I realize this sounds probably ridiculously pretentious. I don't mean for it to. I'm really not an artsy guy at all, but Raise The Red Lantern definitely worked for me in a big way. It's a difficult, slow movie, but I think it's an incredibly rewarding one...


I think makkumatre must have looked this up after seeing one of Zhang Yimou's kung-fu flicks and expected more of the same. Nothing like switching off your brain, eh makkumatre?

I think perhaps the reason you can't identify with these characters is because you enjoy a lot of freedom in your life. Imagine being in the position of the main character a the beggining of the film - left with practiacally no option but to give up her education and become someones wife. From then on her life is occasionally shagging an old man she barely knows and engaging in pointless social games with her fellow captives.

I'd also suggest the reason the film takes it's time telling this story is to give you the sense of how frustrating and mind-numbingly dreadful this life really was. You should count yourself lucky you have so many distractions available to you...


Hey, I don't get David Lynch films, even though everyone else seems to fall all over themselves dishing out high praise for his work, so I understand what you're saying about Raise the Red Lantern, even though I personally loved the movie.

I got the story and I also got the severe cultural restraints placed upon the story and the characters. Kind of like reading Tolstoy. If you don't get the cultural restraints, you're lost. Then, the telling of the story becomes everything. I thought the storytelling was masterful. The visuals were totally stunning, as well. So, I liked the story, I enjoyed the characters, found the plot more than interesting, and was blown away by the cinematography...but that's just me.

I guess I'm lucky. I'm as comfortable with big audience pleasers as I am with art films and I got as much enjoyment out of Crank as I did Lovers on the Bridge. I also got a big kick out of "Flying Daggers." I'll leave any discussion of artistic merits to film scholars. I just know what I like.

You know, a good writer is simply one who knows how to tell a good story and tell it well. A good filmmaker does the same thing.

Raise the Red Lantern is a good story well told. It may not have been your cup of tea, but I applaud your honesty for stating that right up front.

"I left everything, and everyone. But no one, no one has ever left me."


I really hope you're just a troll and don't really mean this.

"Raise the Red Lantern" is a masterpiece. The visuals alone make it excellent, it could well be the most beautiful colour movie I've ever seen. Add to that Gong Li's fantastic performance, a captivating story, well developed characters and plenty of deeply moving emotionally scenes, and it's quite obvious why so many people like this movie.

"He was a self-made man who owed his lack of success to nobody."


The answer is quite simple.

Because art is subjective.


Just saw this last night and ... wow.

I couldn't agree less with your comparison to House of flying daggers, since I think this movie is superior in almost every way. Both films are beautifully produced, with luscious photography, skilful editing and beautiful costumes and sets. The acting in both is top-notch.

The action in House of flying daggers is obviously superior, if only by default.

But story? Are you kidding? House of flying daggers is pretty standard, wildly improbable Hollywood-meets-Hong Kong intrigue-- sturdy enough to hang a beautiful film on, and fun enough for a couple of hours, but hardly phenomenal.

In contrast, Raise the red lantern is an achingly real story of loss, desperation, and wasted potential. It's about women trying to gain some measure of control over a situation in which they are powerless, and the way in which they turn their efforts against one another. On the surface it may be slow, but underneath is an intricate plot of low-stakes politics played for life and death. This is difficult but powerful stuff.

Telling such a story is hard. Telling the story and making it beautiful is all but impossible.


Is there a reason that you use the word "thrice" in the year 2007? Since your language skills seem lacking, take a lesson in the difference between "plot" and "story." Though Zhang Yimou is probably the greatest Chinese storyteller, suffice it to say that this film, like many, is a beautifully plotted mood piece, which nonetheless makes a strong statement without all that much of a story. The movie, which is gorgeous and brilliant in every way, is nothing short of a masterpiece.
It isn't meant for pretentious twits.


Hmm, I was not aware that the word "thrice" had expired. My dictionary doesn't list it as obsolete, but then, it was published before 2007. My point: just because a particular word doesn't get used frequently doesn't make it obsolete. Welcome to the English language, where there are 10,000 words you hear a lot, and 150,000 you don't.

And for the record, name calling (e.g. "pretentious twit") turns people off to your comments. You can make the most sage comments in history, but if you insult the ones to whom you make them, they'll most likely dismiss your comments out of hand. As the old proverb states -- "You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar." If you want people to listen to you, opine all you want, but let others do the same, and reserve the name calling for someplace more appropriate -- like your next WWE Smackdown.

I haven't seen this movie, but I recently saw Yimou Zhang's "House of Flying Daggers". Wow -- this guy knows how to make beautiful films. "Raise the Red Lantern" is definitely on my "must see" list.


PS: Opine? I haven't heard that word yet in 2007 -- is it obsolete?

". . . is there air? You don't know!"


tjo-4, I quite like "opine" and use it often, but, actually, counting borrowed terms, there are closer to 500,000 words in English, "thrice," being one which, while not obsolete, is not in any more common usage than, say, "fortnightly."

Watch the movie before you say that I overstep in my defense of it. The poster had already made up his mind and nothing I could say would change it, so, why should I care if he is put off by the tenure of its delivery? Besides, I name-called no one directly. makkumatre has made no objection nor even any subsequent posts to the thread. My implied alleged criticism is pretty mild. Someone else used the word "moron" and another suggested that his brain was turned off--did you take them to task, as well?



"You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar."

Unlike you I've never liked flies; and vinegar is good with salad. So I've never considered it becoming to want to attract, let alone catch, flies.


It's kinda CHINESE BEAUTY about rotten lifes behind shiny facades.
The story and the behaviour of the characters are certainly a bit arti(ficial). Life in an upper class house was just better than 70 hours/week working on a rice plantation.


This thread is a very good example of why some people should stick to eating razors as opposed to watching (and subsequently, judging) films.

If the mastery of the film eludes you, that's one thing, and the subjectivity rule could cover that. To call the film meaningless, however, you are then saying that the film has no point and/or has no connections to reality, both literally and in terms of allegory. If after watching this film the message that the director has been *throwing* at you isn't immediately clear, or at least partially, then there is something horribly wrong with you. I have a feeling one viewing of Blue Velvet would devastate your mind to the point of brain damage.

In closing, if you were disappointed, then you have a right to give this feedback and explain in a sensible manner why the film failed to impress you, without any kind of rebuttal. By insulting the film in ways which are untrue, however, I must assume that you are a moron, and therefore beneath any and all empathy. I suggest killing yourself immediately as an alternative to all that paint you've been sniffing.

< Ronald Mendoza 4 Lyfe > Crew Member Since 01'


I must assume that you are a moron, and therefore beneath any and all empathy.
Don't know if you are really talking about me. But you should learn that opinions may vary.

I rated Da hong deng long gao gao gua 9/10. I like its style and freshness. Later works of Yimou are overrated in my opinion.


If you didn't make the thread, then why would you assume I'm speaking to you?

Just because I posted after you, or in 'reply' to you doesn't make it any less obvious who I was indeed responding to. You have also taken my quote out of context, where I had stated that my problem with the threadmaker's post was not his lack of preference towards the film, but his assurance that the film didn't have a meaning, which is entirely untrue and is indeed an arrogant cheap shot both to the film and any and all the people (such as myself) who have acknowledged the film as a masterpiece of cinema, or even more simply, enjoy the film. If my rebuttal was fierce or base in execution, well, I guess insults vary, too.

P.S. - 90' Yimou is far superior to 00's Yimou. I despise the lack of subtlety he portrays now, especially in the horrifically overdone CGI segments of his films. He's actually made it possible for himself to be considered derivative of Ang Lee, even though he was making major critical successes before Lee's elevation to film guru was even starting.

< Ronald Mendoza 4 Lyfe > Crew Member Since 01'



even if the OP didn't get the message of the film is that really a reason to suggest killing himself? i think this world needs more people like him who say what is on their minds even if they know it won't be liked than people like you who can't accept when somebody dislikes a movie you call a masterpiece. ok, now think about an insult for me, Evenflow8112.


well sometimes the plot isn't always so vivid. I think House of Flying Daggers had a very simple and straightforward plot, which is one of the reasons I thought the movie was not as good. I'll say that I enjoy a kung fu movie here and there, but that one didn't win me over.

But it's all fair game if you say you did not enjoy the movie, art of any sort is not to be enjoyed by everyone.

Also, sometimes watching a movie twice will give you a different taste as opposed to the first time you've seen it. Perhaps it will bring a greater level of appreciation the next time around.