But a big star is not necessarily a good actor—and Liu is a case in point. On Douban (link in Chinese), China’s IMDb-esque film portal, Liu currently holds an average rating of 5.2/10 for nearly two dozen films with her starring roles, as Quartz calculated. In general, a Chinese production with a 7-plus rating would be considered a good one.

Liu’s latest film, Once Upon a Time (2017) has a 4.0 rating, higher than just 3% of all the fantasy romance dramas rated by Douban users. “Why does Liu Yifei still play every character like someone with facial palsy after so many years of acting,”wrote one moviegoer about her performance in the film. The comment has garnered more than 8,000 likes.

In Douban’s annual mock award, which lets users vote for the worst actors and actresses in film, Liu was nominated as China’s worst actress (link in Chinese) for 2012, 2013, and 2016. 

Liu’s higher-rated works are mostly Chinese period TV series from her early career. Lots of her roles are innocent, young female protagonists adapted from Jin Yong’s martial-art novels. The 93-year-old writer once commented Liu’s casting as one of his heroines in an interview: “Ms. Liu looks pretty, but she is afraid of being ugly, and she doesn’t dare to make facial expressions.”

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