While watching this, I desperately wanted to join the outrage over it being categorized a “foreign film.” I wanted to curse the old white guys who see a primarily coloured cast and a subtitle and make the easy decision.
But the truth is, this is a foreign film. Yes, it takes place in America, but it is completely Korean. It is not a white perspective of Koreans, it is a Korean’s perspective of whites. The Koreans aren’t stereotyped and over the top Asian. It is the “hillbilly,” Christian, white people that are over the top.
It is completely a Korean story. It is the stubborn, duty bound father, and the suppressed but loyal mother, the halmoni (grandmother) who plays cards and swears, and the children, who, while stradling two worlds are both defiant, and respectful of their elders.
The film, while possibly underwhelming, is beautiful in that it is a story America never hears. It is a culture that America rarely really sees. This is the story of a Korean family who chase the American Dream. Immigrants who come to America for a better future. And the very real struggles that come with it.
And while its easy to watch the credits roll and remember that this is just a movie, this story was loosly based of the director’s own childhood.
This film might get pushed into the shadows, but for what it is, and what it means to Asian Americans, it will remain timeless.