The Beautiful Country

"Good"

The Beautiful Country Review


It's getting harder to appreciate an immigrant saga like The Beautiful Country in which audiences are expected to be swayed by the poor and huddled masses. After all, isn't the United States a country of immigrants? To make such a film memorable, directors should try one of two things: Remind us of the importance of this notion through a distinctive personal narrative, or tell us something we haven't heard before. The Beautiful Country flirts with both possibilities, but not enough to produce something memorable.

In 1990 Vietnam, Binh (newcomer Damien Nguyen) has an even more difficult time because of his genetics. He's the product of a mixed marriage, a hasty but loving union of a Vietnamese mother and G.I. father, neither of whom he has seen in years. After he's forced out of his master/guardian's house, Binh, armed with little more than an old photograph and a bicycle, treks to Saigon where he reunites with his mother. A tragic accident forces another long, winding trek to America to find his father.

The details of The Beautiful Country make us take notice: the difficulty of Binh's life in Vietnam because of his father; the abusive class structure in Vietnam; the conditions Binh lives in when he moves to America (never mind the boat trip). Writer Sabina Murray doesn't delve enough into these little-discussed issues, the way director Joshua Marston did with drug smuggling in the harrowing Maria Full of Grace. Instead, the story's focuses on Binh's journey.

We never feel that it's his story. It'd be nice to know how long the resilient Binh bounced around the Vietnamese village or how he dealt with being marginalized in his own country. Outside factors force him to leave, but without any kind of personal reflection, you soon listen out of indifferent respect, the way a bored high school student would in your average history class. When Binh finally finds his father -- played with grizzled sympathy by Nick Nolte -- on the Texas prairie, it's hard to care. Without insight, and with Murray and director Hans Petter Moland's focus on Binh's trip, The Beautiful Country blends into all of our prior experiences with the immigrant's journey, whether it is through film, literature, or our own family histories.

Think of it another way: The reason why so many people follow sports is not because of the game, but because the storylines are different from season to season. There are new conflicts, new personalities. The games are fine, but the subplots continually give them new life. The Beautiful Country is OK on its own, well-acted and revealing in small ways. What it badly needs is Terrell Owens; in other words, a reason to pay attention.

She love you... ah, skip it.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 125 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 13th March 2004

Production compaines: Sony Pictures Classics

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: Tomas Backström, Petter J. Borgli, , Edward R. Pressman

Starring: as Captain Oh, as Steve, as Ling

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.