I know I’m not easy to please and my tastes go in wayward directions and sometimes I don’t know until I know. It’s not a mystery. This is the way I work and while every fish out of the water story has something universal to it, in all its different incarnations, it can also be a cardboard cutout, a seemingly innocuous story that also says something different about the reality and society to which it is playing to when juxtaposed with timing and history and the fact that nothing lives in an ivory tower.
That’s why when I see this type of film–which isn’t quite the same as the journey film, I am a little cautious about it and rightly so (and I’m not taking anything away from the journey–just the objectification of culture and country when juxtaposed to the realities of its people and descendents).
At the same time, there are some great people attached to it, it does want to create this other narrative about what Vietnam is–versus just the war here and I think in some ways you could say Vietnam too–and there is something to be said for that.
And it’s a romcom/drama and we all love those (except when they aren’t actually that good).
So it’s not like I was like “MF’s…” completely out of the gate…
Some random thoughts after watching.
They Got The Music Right
Honestly, one of the first things I noticed was Suboi when they got into Vietnam. I was like okay–fine. Point to you MFs. And then they kept on adding points with Bích Phương and other Viet musical goodness.
Liked The Food And City/Landscape Shots
The shots were really nice–I’ll admit I thought to myself that they are showcasing this beauty and energy of the places they were.
They Did Have A Diverse Set Of Characters
BIPOC, LGBTQ+, Young, Old. Vietnamese. You don’t always get that.
She Didn’t Leave For The White Guy. It Was Honest
I liked that part. I thought they had a lot of chemistry in breaking up. And she made the right decision. Sinh was obiously what she needed. And he would have asked her to go to Ohio.
On The Love Portion
I mean, that’s where I feel like, maybe some of that portion needed a little more time. It was good. The kisses were nice. And they had some nice scenes. Idk. I’m gonna think on that one.
I’m Giving It A Solid Mostly Unwaverring 6.9
In part, it’s because of what it was and what I think it wanted to be. And I think at least from an American perspective, I did give it some points for not having any Ken Burns’ material in it.