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China · 2017
2h 16m
Director Feng Xiaogang
Starring Huang Xuan, Miao Miao, Elane Zhong, Yang Caiyu
Genre Drama, History, Music

In this coming-of-age film set during the Cultural Revolution, a group of adolescents, who are a part of a dance troupe in the People's Liberation Army, discover love, lust, trauma, betrayal, and loss while they fight in the Sino Vietnamese War of 1979.

Stream Youth

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What are critics saying?


Screen International by Allan Hunter

Galloping across the decades, the film becomes increasingly sketchy and superficial. There is so much detail and substance in the 1970s stretch of this epic that the twists of fate and rueful reflections of later years inevitably feel less authentic and closer to soap opera.


CineVue by Christopher Machell

Youth is as sentimental as it is accomplished, but Xiaogang's mastery both of broad sweep and intimate detail proves an impressive feat.


The New York Times by Glenn Kenny

As a straight, sentimental melodrama, Youth works well. While there are a lot of conventional tropes, the cast enacts them with such fresh, tenderhearted sincerity that they regain some power.


Los Angeles Times by Justin Chang

If our understanding of the losses these characters have suffered feels incomplete, it’s hard to come away entirely unaffected as these men and women look back at their young adulthood and the whirlwind of historical change against which it played out.


Variety by Maggie Lee

Feng employs traditional craftsmanship to draw a sweeping historical canvas with profound human upheavals that mirror virtues and flaws of the Chinese people, without ever losing sight of the personal experiences that he dramatizes with such acute sensuality.


Washington Post by Mark Jenkins

The film’s themes mature from adolescent pettiness to adult regret, with several epilogues set well after the main events of the story.

50 by Simon Abrams

The filmmakers over-extend themselves to solicit empathy for their doomed protagonists. Youth is so unbearably nice that I eventually wished it were remade by misanthropes.

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