Reviewed byjnshaffer12Vote: 9/10
I found this film nothing short of amazingly moving. Patrick Wang blew me away by not only writing the film, but also directing, producing, and starring in it! It is a movie about love and struggle and fighting for what you know in your heart. I enjoyed the film because it didn't rush things, it took its time in letting the characters as well as the audience comprehend the situations as the story unraveled. It is said that, "The only thing stronger than fear is hope," and if there's one way to show that, its through this movie. Not only does the main character, played by Wang, have to deal with being gay in this day in age, he experiences even more turmoil as he continues to lose those close to him. It's a film about believing in hope to pushing yourself to the limit until you can't any longer, but making sure not to lose yourself along the way.
Reviewed byJim ChevallierVote: 8/10
This is a distinctive film with a distinctive lead actor/director/writer, one that will probably be cited in future years as his first imperfect effort. It addresses an important issue - the uncertain rights of gay survivors - head-on from an unexpected, very individual point of view. Joey Williams, the southern-accented, low-key Asian protagonist, is a tremendously loving person - loving not only to his partner and their son (strikingly and adorably played by Sebastian Brodziak), but to others around him. As we learn his back-story as a foster child, this understated readiness to love becomes all the more moving. When he finds himself alone and having to fight for his son, his dilemma is all the more moving because he is clearly a person who, without being weak, sidesteps confrontation. His manner throughout is endearing and very specific, even as he encounters, in the most off- handed way, chilling and heartless homophobia at one of the most difficult moments of his life. The "issue" is certainly front and center here, but we care about him first and foremost as a person - luckily, since we spend far more time with him than one usually would in a film. There are also unexpected gestures of kindness and concern all through the film, one on the part of a Wise Man who appears from the most unexpected corner and reminds us that, even as Joey struggles for the right to be a father, he remains a tender soul in need of a father figure himself; at different moments, a glass of whiskey and a glass of water, each quietly offered, make it clear that he has found one. The film's unhurried pace often serves it well - one of the most moving sequences involves methodically taking out a beer and opening it - but there are also moments that are plain slow and others which keep pushing at a point that has already been made or linger overmuch on history. The film overall should have been at least a third shorter. By being as long as it is, the film actually dilutes the very real intensity of its central contemplation of family and its meaning. But these are flaws in an overall excellent film, one which is rarely predictable and often quietly surprising, above all very warm and human all the way through. Its low-key quirkiness, by the way, includes one of the more off-the-wall bits of product placement to be seen in an indie film, one that will delight the handful of fans who know and care who wrote "Wild Thing". As gracefully integrated as this is, one gets the sense that the director/writer knew the songwriter and wanted, as much as anything else, to help him out; a gesture which sums up the fundamentally loving nature of this entire project.
Reviewed bycgillis-226-389598Vote: 8/10
This is an original, quietly powerful first movie by Patrick Wang. A true work of art, showing the power of moral justice over legal justice. The climactic scene in the 'courtroom' is amazing. Joey's achingly simple openness is how I want to be. I didn't find it political, or PC or non-PC. It's just (just! how rare) a story about some good people having to resolve important conflicts.
If I have a criticism it is that the sound was muddy and there was a little too much 'sound design'...footsteps, table settings, etc. were much too noticeable; voices not so clear.
And yes, it could have been a little tighter in the first half - somewhat slow.
But these are minor cavils about a wonderful film
In the town of Martin, Tennessee, Chip Hines, a precocious six year old, has only known life with his two dads, Cody and Joey. And a good life it is. When Cody dies suddenly in a car accident, Joey and Chip struggle to find their footing again. Just as they begin to, Cody's will reveals that he named his sister as Chip's guardian. The years of Joey's acceptance into the family unravel as Chip is taken away from him. In his now solitary home life, Joey searches for a solution. The law is not on his side, but friends are. Armed with their comfort and inspired by memories of Cody, Joey finds a path to peace with the family and becomes closer to his son.