Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

September 1, 2010 0 By Fans
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives


On his deathbed, Uncle Boonmee, recalls his many past lives.

Release Year: 2010

Rating: 6.7/10 (3,962 voted)

Critic's Score: 87/100

Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Stars: Thanapat Saisaymar, Jenjira Pongpas, Sakda Kaewbuadee

On his deathbed, Uncle Boonmee, recalls his many past lives.

Writers: Phra Sripariyattiweti, Apichatpong Weerasethakul


Thanapat Saisaymar


Jenjira Pongpas


Sakda Kaewbuadee


Natthakarn Aphaiwonk


Geerasak Kulhong


Wallapa Mongkolprasert


Kanokporn Tongaram


(as Kanokporn Thongaram)

Samud Kugasang


Sumit Suebsee


Mathieu Ly


Vien Pimdee


Akachai Aodvieng

Prakasit Padsena

Nikom Kammach

Chophaka Chaiyuchit


Official Website:
Official site [Germany] |
Official site [Japan] |

Release Date: 1 September 2010

Opening Weekend: $23,540
(6 March 2011)
(3 Screens)

Gross: $183,605
(7 August 2011)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?


Inspired by the book "A Man Who Can Recall Past Lives" by Phra Sripariyattiweti of Sang Arun Forest Monastery, Khon Kaen. Published in August 23, 1983.

User Review

Hard to judge – easy to love or hate with passion

Rating: 5/10

This was a hard film to rate. It pains me not to have fallen in love
with it. Here, then, are some scattered thoughts of my failed romance.

It started with a very sour first date. It also ended there.

I went in looking to see a film that won the Golden Palm at Cannes
2010. Knowing this fact, and having seen the trailer, I went to the
theater expecting to see an art house piece with Oriental metaphysical
overtones. What I saw was, to be sure, a decisively original and at
times hauntingly beautiful film, but one that I found an absolute bore:
a film that, to me, seemed a tiresome, dysfunctional, inchoate
potpourri of disjunct elements that never quite flowed together.

Perhaps false expectations can ruin a movie. Or, perhaps, let me hazard
the unlikely suggestion, there is nothing here to salvage? For let me
be clear: I wanted to like this film, I really did. It is important to
reward originality and craftsmanship, always. And I respect the film
(or at least its intentions). But the fact remains (here comes the
unavoidable, brutal, decisive fact), I didn't like it. I only liked a
few scenes here and there. Some parts I hated, absolutely loathed.
Despite a few glimmerings of genius – and an undoubted air of
originality – it seems to be that Uncle Boonmee is a needlessly
difficult, slow-paced and ultimately unsuccessful film… despite the
fact that it gets to a great start and carries a lot of potential all
the time. Perhaps the "elusive" quality mentioned by the high-praise
reviewers is a mask behind which there is no greater coherence to be
found. Perhaps the inchoate structure and the belaboured pacing are not
marks of genius but amateurish vices committed in the name of some
grand vision that shall forever remain out of our material reach. I
fault this film not because of its weird themes or its occasional dream
logic. On the contrary, I think that it may even be that the film
wasn't weird enough or dreamy enough; perhaps this film's use of "magic
realism" is a kind of materialistic trap that forces the movie into
long, never-ending sequences of absolutely no consequence. The main
vice of the film is its unadventurous reliance on fixed camera frames
and boring, dragging shots. Editing between the scenes is tortuously
snail-paced and almost morphine-mimicking in its soporific entailments.

Whatever the reason, the film feels too much jumbled together, like
some heavy stone stuck in a spiritual limbo, or a unicorn eating a
burger, or some such nonsense. Ironically, the main stumbling block for
the film, if you ask me, is not its "artsiness", but its clumsy
down-to-Earthness. The film seems to be grasping for some supreme
realism and materialism underneath its spiritual, religious and
metaphysical surface. But the result is a kind of Ken Loach of
Buddhism: a boring materialism under the guise of animistic
spiritualism. Just plain realism without a purpose: people doing boring
stuff for boring reasons.

Or perhaps all this is wrong; perhaps all this analysis is useless.
Perhaps we are back to false expectations again: I expected one thing
and saw another. But who cares WHY I didn't like it? Surely all this is
uninteresting? Well, perhaps, but let me say that my personal dilemma –
how I wanted to love this film so much but ended up almost hating it –
is an interesting story to tell, because this film has the potential to
divide audiences totally, into "haters" and "praisers" – and very few
lukewarm receivers in between. I definitely recommend this film to be
seen, but I am not going to play the art house card, the usual cop-out:
"I'm sure it's a masterpiece, I just didn't get it", and then give it a
score of 8 or 9 despite having hated it myself, out of some duty-bound,
deranged, depersonalized sense of professional duty or peer pressure to
agree with everybody else, or – worse yet – pretend to love the film
because of some unhealthy respect for the jury at Cannes or the snidely
snobbish world film press. No, this would be a scandalous road to take.
One must stand by one's convictions, and it is my personal conviction,
based on one viewing, that here we have an ultimately pretty bad film:
a failed exercise at grafting something sublime. Despite its
undoubtedly pure and original intentions and beginnings, this film
remains an overrated (soon to be over-venerated), perplexing, highly
original turd – interesting but ultimately vacuous, like some of
Buñuel's lesser works, or like Andy Warhol's art.

Whether I change my opinion after a second, or third, viewing remains
to be seen. So, despite my dislike of the film's overall structure, I
feel that this is an important film, and I can easily recommend it to
all movie lovers. Everyone remotely interested in film should go and
see, form their OWN opinion, of such a remarkable cinematic piece: a
film that, despite its flaws and vices, is undoubtedly a creation of
unique character and visionary qualities. Weerasethakul's directorial
voice is loud and persistent, and its echo will surely be heard for
many years to come across the lands – and cinema screens – the world

Now, let him only refine his voice a bit and convince us skeptics.

Whether my love for this film will grow, who knows. I'm preparing for
the inevitable "second date" – the future second attempt at falling in
love – with a strange expectation of more melancholy moods.