"What's notable is the sophisticated nonchalance with which it portrays a contemporary gay relationship in a closeted society...The affair endures many twists and separations, yet each estrangement only brings the two closer, and the director, Stanley Kwan, swathes them in layers of shadow that make us seek out the light of connection in their faces... there are moments it captures the erotics of intimacy in a way that makes most American love stories look downright unfree." --

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

"Stanley Kwan, a veteran Hong Kong director who's openly gay, made the movie without official government approval...It reportedly wouldn't have been given, because the film violates two major taboos: full-frontal male nudity and a 30-second sequence that references the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre...'Lan Yu' deserves high marks for political courage but barely gets by on its artistic merits." --Lou Lumenick, The New York Post

"For all of its careful realism, 'Lan Yu' is constructed around clichE`s, plummeting toward a modestly heroic sacrifice and a tearjerking act of fate. But Kwan is a master of shadow, quietude, and room noise, and Lan Yu is a disarmingly lived-in movie." --Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice

"'Lan Yu' not only includes some fairly explicit love scenes but also uses the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 and the shady dealings of the country's business elite as central plot devices. For all that, the movie feels neither incendiary nor, at least until its abrupt, maudlin ending, especially melodramatic...rather than probe too deeply into their psyches or try to untangle the vicissitudes of their relationship, Mr. Kwan is content to observe the meandering course of their attraction, and to illuminate the moments it sparks into love." --A.O. Scott, The New York Times

"...while the subject matter is lusty and the bodies sensuous, Kwan keeps a cool lid on matters carnal...Still, even as 'Lan Yu' attempts a Bergmanesque emotional austerity, its heart lies somewhere between 'A Star Is Born' and 'Mildred Pierce'...As an overall experience, it most resembles its title character: beautiful and guileless, but far less seductive than sin." --John Anderson, Newsday

"With its scenes of full-frontal nudity and its references to the Tiananmen Square protests, 'Lan Yu' may be a breakthrough film for China, but it's well-trod territory for American viewers." --Jami Bernard, The New York Daily News