Perhaps it is simplistic, but I enjoyed it
Rabbi Yonassan Gershom | Minnesota, USA | 11/19/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a traditional Jew who is often critical of films about Judaism, I can understand why some Buddhist reviewers have disparaged "Little Buddha" as overly-simplistic. For a lifelong practitioner of Buddhism, it probably is. Then again, people have to start somewhere. Those of us who seriously practice a spiritual path - whatever it may be -- tend to forget that intro level materials are just that -- basic intro. While the average Buddhist might already know the story of Buddha's life by heart, the vast majority of non-Buddhists here in the USA do not. Also keep in mind that this is a PG family film, not an historical documentary. My impression was that the film was primarily aimed at children, since the main characters is a little boy, and the story-within-the-story about Buddha's life is presented as a series of scenes in a book he (the American kid) is reading. Granted, the film does have an certain idealized, fairytale quality, but then again, so do the all those sand-and-sandals films about Jesus. Which is why I would place "Little Buddha" in the same genre. I happen to like this kind of pagentry, so I enjoyed "little Buddha" for the icongraphy that it is.On the technical end, the cinamatography is beautiful, the costumes are superb, and the acting is well done. The story, while fictional, is based on real cases of Tibetan Lamas who have reincarnated in the West. As a companion to this film, I would recommend Vickie McKenzie's book, "Reborn in the West," which chronicles several such real-life cases. In fact, it was after reading McKenzie's book that I noticed this film and decided to view it."
Rabbi Yonassan Gershom | 11/08/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Little Buddha is a wonderfully entertaining and historically accurate film. The story has two plots, making it confusing at some times. One tells of a Buddhist priest searching for the reincarnation of his dead teacher, while the other tells the story of Siddhartha Guatama, the Buddha. (Played by Keanu Reeves) As far as the acting goes, this film gets five stars from me. Siddhartha, (Reeves) is played beautifully, along with Lisa Conrad, (Bridget Fonda) and Lama Norbu. (Ruocheng Ying) Another plus about the acting are the three children who played the candidates for the reincarnation of the teacher. I especially liked Gita, who is the only girl candidate. I liked the costumes, too, as they are historically accurate, and stand out with the bright colors and makeup. I found it strange that the men wore makeup, but they do, and the film portrays it brilliantly. All along I have been mentioning how historically correct this film is. I have been saying this because it is the truth. Not only is the story of Siddhartha correct, but all of the facts about Buddha and Buddhism are too. If you know nothing about the religion, watching this film will give you a basic introduction to Buddhism. There are two things that would have made this film better. If it did not flash so much between the two plots, it would have been less confusing. Also, I did not like the music. I don't know if it just was not my type or if it didn't go with the movie, but I didn't like it. Little Buddha is a grea movie and I recommend watching it, but don't waste your money on the soundtrack."
Moving, touching, even inspiring beginner's story of Buddha
Rabbi Yonassan Gershom | 11/16/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have seen this movie five or six times, now, and each time I find something new and significant in it. Keanu Reeves was just fine, who says he's a horrible actor? And physically, he was totally appropriate. I loved the little kids' acting, too, and I will look at Bridget Fonda no matter what she does. This movie inspired me to continue my spiritual quest. It may be oversimplified, but a movie that's about peace and love and spirit is a great and wonderful relief from all the violence and gore and general horrible content of many of the newer movies. I too love all of Bertolucci's films, but this one touched my innermost being."
"He Who Brings Good" ~ "The Path To Englightenment Is In T
Brian E. Erland | Brea, CA - USA | 09/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Do you believe in reincarnation? This is the question that must ultimately be answered by a young American family when a group of crimson robed Tibetan monks unexpectedly appear on the front porch of their upper-class Seattle residence. Dean and Lisa Conrad (Chris Isaak and Bridget Fonda), the parents of a bright, inquistive boy named Jesse (Alex Wiesendanger) are faced with the possibility that their son may be the reincarnated soul of a revered Tibetan Lama. At least that's what they've been told by this group of monks recently relocated to downtown Seattle.
Just before leaving Lama Norbu (Ying Ruocheng) presents Jesse with a gift, a book on the life of Siddhartha. In the days following this initial encounter with the religious leader of the Tibetan community Jesse begins to read about the life and deeds of the young Prince who would one day become the Buddha.
From that point on the film shifts back and forth between the interaction of the Tibetan monks with the Conrad family in modern day America and the retelling of Siddhartha's (Keanu Reeves) life and journey to enlightenment in ancient India. This movement is flawlessly done by director Bernardo Bertolucci, adding depth and meaning to the rapidly changing events taking place in the life of little Jesse Conrad.
An excellent movie on every level. Intelligent storyline, incredibly beautiful cinematography provided by Vittorio Storaro and overall good performances, especially by the Tibetans and Kanika Pandey as Queen Maya. What an exotic beauty! This film may be a little slow for those with no interest in Buddhist philosophy and spirituality, however if you are just a little open-minded it will provide much food for thought and discussion."