109 minutes so about 10 minutes too long. I'm wondering what mainstream American audiences will make of it since they don't know anything about recent Chinese history (the Anti-Rightist campaign starting in 1957, the Cultural Revolution, political rehabilitation, etc.), so they'll be wondering: why was this couple separated for so long, why was this guy an enemy of the State, why would the child turn her father in to the authorities? If you do know recent Chinese history, it will all make sense.
It's a tear-jerker, and the piano and violin score is employed for maximum bawling effect. Using amnesia as a story device is kind of an easy way to do things, but I didn't begrudge them using it here. Gong Li plays a dotty old lady brilliantly, and the guy who plays her husband is also first rate. The ballerina actress who plays the daughter is also good. With 1.3 billion people, you can find a few who can act. The way the couple is eventually reunited is totally heart-breaking. I fast forwarded a tiny bit towards the end mainly to get some relief from sobbing (doesn't help that I understand Chinese, no subtitles needed). Not sure how to rate it, it's a green in terms of performances and story structure, but a yellow if you're looking to be "entertained."
(My favorite Zhang Yimou / Gong Li movie remains Ju Dou ... that was their peak for me.)