‘The Flowers of War’ Movie Review – Beautiful, Tragic, Unforgettable
It took me a little while to be able to start writing this review for The Flowers of War because I had to recover from watching it. This film is one of the most beautiful and hardest film I have ever had to watch.
Directed by Zhang Yimou (Raise the Red Lantern, Hero, House of the Flying Daggers) and starring Christian Bale, the film is set during Japan’s 1937 invasion of China in Nanking and follows John Miller (Bale), a mortician, who gets tangled in the war and ends up seeking refuge in a Catholic church with a group of schoolgirls, including Shujuan Meng (Xinyi Zhang). Soon they are joined by a group of Chinese courtesans led by Yu Mo (Ni Ni) who take over the Church’s basement despite the schoolgirls’ reluctance.
But soon the war catches up to them and they faced with a tragic life changing choice to make.
If you have a hard time watching war movies that depict the atrocities committed soldiers during those times, then I would recommend you skip this one because it is quite shocking at times, especially since a major part of the cast does include young schoolgirls. But if you think you can take it for the love of film, you will find that The Flowers of War is a superb poetic film about human sacrifice and love. While the story does make you question our humanity, it also give you a bit of light and hope.
I don’t think you’ll be surprised to know that Christian Bale is absolutely wonderful in this film. At first I thought he might be a bit of a distraction from the story, but he just blended perfectly and that’s talent.
But he is only part of what made the film so touching, the rest of cast is wonderful as well. The young actress playing Shujuan Meng, Xinyi Zhang will touch your heart and newcomer Ni Ni playing the beautiful Yu Mo will hypnotize you with her quiet yet powerful performance.
The film is shot beautifully and Zhang Yimou managed to capture the horrors of the Nanking Massacre with such realism, it will remain for you long after the credits roll.
As you probably guessed, it might be wise to have a box of tissue handy next to you when watching this film. I literally had to take a moment after the end of the film to process everything and calm myself down. Heck, I had to watch The Graham Norton Show to bring my spirits up a bit, true story, that’s how powerful The Flowers of War is.
It’s been a few days now and I still think about how amazing this film is and that doesn’t happen too often. The film was nominated for a Golden Globe and I am honestly shocked it wasn’t nominated for an Oscar. People need to see it, The Flowers of War is the film to see this year.
The Flowers of War is now playing in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and 10 other cities (you can find out all the places the film is playing here)
You can watch the trailer and find more photos here.