Thousand Pieces of Gold (1991) - Rotten Tomatoes

Thousand Pieces of Gold1991

Thousand Pieces of Gold (1991)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Produced on a shoestring $2 million budget, documentary director Nancy Kelly and her husband, editor Kenji Yamamoto created this romantic western based on a true story. Rosalind Chao stars as Lalu Nathoy, a young woman sold into marriage by her impoverished father in late 19th century China. Lalu is transported to the U.S. by a slave trader, Jim (Dennis Dun), on whom she develops a crush. Although conflicted, Jim fulfills his professional obligation to deliver Lalu to Hong King (Michael Paul Chan), a saloon owner in a rough Idaho mining town. Refusing to participate in Hong King's plan to make her into an exotic prostitute, Lalu keeps her dignity about her and wins the adoration of Charlie (Chris Cooper), Hong King's white, alcoholic partner. Despite the prejudice of the locals, Lalu becomes a cleaning woman and a successful laundress. Though she dreams of marriage to Jim or escape to China, she recognizes Charlie's admirable qualities after a violent incident that casts him in a different light.

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Cast

Rosalind Chao
as Lalu/Polly
Chris Cooper
as Charlie Bemis
Kim Chan
as Li Ping
Evan C. Kim
as Shun Lee
Mary Matvy
as Francoise
Saachiko
as Li Ma
Ron Dorn
as John Span
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Critic Reviews for Thousand Pieces of Gold

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (2)

The debut feature by San Francisco-based documentary maker Nancy Kelly, Thousand Pieces is also a thoughtful study of bigotry, the immigrant experience, and how everyone harbors a personal American dream.

August 16, 2021 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Rosalind Chao's performance is a wonder -- the sort that, in a conventional Hollywood epic, would inspire Oscar speculation.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

The ugliness of racism and misogyny roil within nearly every scene.

May 11, 2020 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

One look at the determination in Chao's eyes and the message is clear: Lalu saves herself.

May 4, 2020 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

One of those amazing pockets of Americana that too infrequently see the light of movies. Aside from its obvious interest as a cross-cultural tale, the film does remarkabIy well as a portrait of western life.

May 1, 2020 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Not a great dramatic film.

April 29, 2020 | Rating: B | Full Review…

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