* AwesomeMusic: The score composed by [[Music/TalkingHeads David Byrne]], [[Music/YellowMagicOrchestra Ryuichi Sakamoto]] and Cong Su. Especially the main theme.
* JerkassWoobie: Pu-Yi starts as a woobie, becomes a huge jerk (to say it ver, VERY politely), then little by little he returns to woobie state. His CharacterDevelopment revolves around him taking responsibility for being made a puppet emperor for an imperialist regime and accepting his role in enabling their war crimes.
* TearJerker: All right, the whole movie is ''a big, giant tear''. To wit:
** The scene with [[spoiler:Pu-yi's ghost.]]
** The audience just spent 2 hours watching Pu-Yi's tumultous life and the tour guide summarizes his life in 3 sentences.
** There's the scene where, after Pu-Yi's release, [[spoiler:he finds one of the prison wards (and the only one [[PetTheDog who treated him well]]) being given a completely undeserved HumiliationConga for not following the Cultural Revolution's rules.]] Seeing Pu-Yi attempt to [[spoiler:tell the Red Guard in charge that the ward's a good man]], only to be called a crazy old man and pushed away, is ''harrowing''...
** When little Pu-Yi is separated from his nanny, and when he learns what happened to his mother.