'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' - SPOILER

Took the family to see Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon last night. It’s beautiful.

I figured she died at the end. My wife thinks that she attained such a degree of skill in her arts that she flew away. Me, I think that’s bullshit. This might be a G.D.- but until I find someone who’s read the novels, and might have a firm answer…well, I’d like to leave it here for now.

Also- the jade comb? It played such a big part in her life, just as Jade Fox did. I’m trying to figure out if it was a gift to her from Jade Fox, and that’s why she fought so hard for it- or was it just because she didn’t want to be bested by the Ruffian from the West??


Yipes. Try This instead !!! Holy BadText, Batman…


Supposedly in the novel she lives to appear in another scene, (the reunion scene that takes place before thend end in the movie) but exactly how is glossed over. She does NOT fly away, for three reasons: 1)She can’t fly. She can jump very far, but she can’t fly. 2) MAYBE she could survive it if she wanted to, but that’s not the point. 3)It’s a crap ending. Basically, she puts her life in the hands of fate… Maybe the legend will be true and she’ll get her wish, (whatever it may be) or maybe she’ll die. She knows that she will probably die; just because people can jump around doesn’t mean magic exists.

I’ve been a little confused about the ending as well, until I thought this up… Remember when Jade Fox died, she said that the real poison is Jen, and that she would grow up to be more evil than herself? Maybe Jen finally realized she’s doomed to be bad girl, and decided to end it before things got worse. I haven’t read the actual novel before, so that’s just my explanation for making myself sleep better at night :wink:

Oh, technically speaking, the characters in CTHD don’t fly. The specific term used for that kind of maneuver is called Qing Gong in Mandarin. A rough translation would be the light way. Supposedly, people learn how to make incredible leaps and jumps that defy the laws of physics…

This may not be totally correct as I heard it secondhand, but it cleared up some things for me and seems to make sense.

Regarding the comb, I think it’s because according older Chinese tradition a woman’s comb is uniquely made and akin to her identity, or at least a means of proof of it. That thing that Michelle Yeoh’s character gives to Jen at the end of the movie to get the monastery to give her access was her own comb, to illustrate the importance of it, I guess.

IMHO, she died. Remember the disturbing vision that Chow Yun Fat related at the beginning of the rilm to Michelle Yeoh? He saw a white, featureless void, filled with sorrow, which perfectly described the the last shot we saw of Jen. She killed herself because she could not live the life she wanted–her family wouldn’t allow her to be with Yo, and she could never become a warrior monk like Chow Yun Fat.

I’m with ya. I didn’t mean to imply that I thought she really could fly. The care taken to show them touching feet to walls, rooftops and of course the MOST beautiful and lyrical bamboo trees- all shows that light contact is essential. What a lovely idea. I know nothing of the history of it, however. Wife was annoyed at it, she said it moved the story out of the realm of believeable. ( She’s a pain in the ass). I found it to be perfect. Even when leaping across water, their feet touched delicately for a moment, to let them stride again into the air.

The Jade Fox comment makes sense. My gut feeling is that she felt she would be sullying this pure man, this desert warrior if she stayed with him. Classic bad girl stuff I guess, and sad and pitiable for that. But- it rings true in context of that story. She’d rather die and spare him the lifetime with her- even if it meant he’d suffer the agony of her loss forever.

God- what a classic love story. I can’t wait to own this DVD, it is moving, calming, distressing, elating…


I tried searching for the author on google and yahoo. This was the best I could come up with that deals with the transition of book to screen. It is an interview with the director and executive screenwriter.


I couldn’t tell exactly what her fate was supposed to be, and frankly, I didn’t care that it was ambiguous.

For me, the last frames worked so beautifully, the image of the soaring woman in the midst of the misty valley – it was a powerful, breathtaking image of liberation and finality. Never mind the story at that point. Cinematically, it was absolutely brilliant. It ensures that the sense of wonderstruck awe stays with you as you leave the theater.

I like the ending as it is: soft, gentle, ambiguous. I feel it’s more worthwhile to engage with the emotional quality of the ending, and consider that in context with the overall film, than trying to figure out “what happens.”

I’ll give you another example – nowhere near as good a movie, but it’s worth thinking about. Look at the end of Titanic. Old Rose tosses the necklace, and goes back to her stateroom. We see her lying in her bunk. Camera shows mementos ranged above. Dissolve to sunken wreck, then match dissolve to actual pre-sunken boat, as we race through corridors into the big foyer, amid applauding people, and then to the stairs to where Jack waits with outstretched hand.

Question: Was Old Rose dreaming? Or did she die, and this was her vision of going to Heaven (or whatever)?

I’ve heard people argue both sides convincingly. It’s certainly a deliberately vague and lyrical moment (well, as lyrical as Jim Cameron ever gets, anyway), and if you look just at the movie, it’s impossible to prove what happens one way or the other.

But now check out the actual screenplay. This is how Cameron writes the ending:

So in other words, in Cameron’s own source text, the answer is, “Both and neither.” It doesn’t matter; it’s about the emotional quality.

I would agree with Jomo Mojo, and assert the view that a literal reading of the end of Crouching Tiger doesn’t just miss the point, it threatens to create a reduced emotional experience. I’m sorry some people feel like they have to have The Answer To What Happened, that they feel cheated if the movie doesn’t spoon-feed them all the plot details and their specific ramifications, but then that’s their movie-going preference. It isn’t mine, and it isn’t how Crouching Tiger works.

Gee, thanks, Cervaise. :slight_smile:

What the hell? It’s beside the point, but Ang Lee is full of shit. This genre is KNOWN for its strong female roles.

Maybe I’m an optimist, but I imagined a different ending. The Desert Warrior had told Jen a story of a boy who saved his parents by believing and jumping off a cliff. I think she was wishing for Li Mu Bai to come back to life and for everybody to live happily ever after.

I like Guy Propski’s tying in Li Mu Bai’s vision into the ending, but she could have run away with the Desert Warrior (damn! What was his name?). Jen had already left her family. I didn’t get the impression that she would be damaging Desert Warrior’s purity by staying with him. Was there some symbolism that I missed? I did not think that Desert Warrior was a pure character like Li Mu Bai or Shu Lien.

I think that’s her wish, xtal, but I think it’s a dying wish that can’t come true.

Here’s a completely tangentical question, pertaining to the movie, but not the OP (I didn’t want to start a new thread).

Why is the lead female character in the film called Jen in the subtitles, but something like Shai-Lo by the Chinese speakers? I realise that Jen is a common Chinese name, but when it was spoken in the movie, it sure didn’t sound like the Jen that’s common in the West.

The name is actually Jiaolong. “Jen” is just used because, as far as I can tell, they think westerner’s heads will implode if they have to keep track of too many Chinese names.

His name was Lo.

Great movie though I was confused by the ending too. One of the few movies to elicit emotion from me. :slight_smile:

Before the movie they showed a trailer for Pearl Harbor. That was one of the best trailers I’ve seen and also had me choked up for some reason.


I read the scene the same way, xtal, although I think it’s good and appropriate that Lee left it ambiguous.

What I didn’t understand is, did Jen really want Li Mu Bai to die? I don’t think so, but when she goes to fetch the antidote, she doesn’t seem in much of a hurry. She doesn’t use the “light way” and leap across the tops of buildings. Instead we see her amble back on a horse, IIRC. We saw her move much faster than that earlier in the movie!

What I didn’t understand is, did Jen really want Li Mu Bai to die? I don’t think so, but when she goes to fetch the antidote, she doesn’t seem in much of a hurry. She doesn’t use the “light way” and leap across the tops of buildings. Instead we see her amble back on a horse, IIRC. We saw her move much faster than that earlier in the movie!

I quite liked the complexity of her character though. Is she a good bad girl? A bad good girl? Shudder to think how a typical hollywood director would have handle this.