Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Mika Boorem, Yi Ding, Sean Astin, Luoyong Wang, Beau Bridges
Director: Jeffrey Kramer
Genres: Action & Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Ling lives in quiet hardship in rural china. Katie lives in a world of pampered ease in malibu. When these two worlds come together through a charity called doctors gift (based on operation smile) their lives are forever c... more »
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When you're smiling, when you're smiling the whole world smi
Junglies | Morrisville, NC United States | 09/05/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"My first reaction on seeing the cast was to groan inside. Not wishing to prejudice my viwing beforehand I persisted and was pleasantly surprised by the result.
Be not mistaken, this is no earth shattering movie which will win artistic awards or even oscars.
It is a feelgood, tugging at the heart-strings movie aimed at Western and westernized audiences,
It tells the tale of two girls born on the same day an ocean apart who grow up leading very different lives. While for the girl of Malibu life is a breeze with comfort and success without struggle living in the parental home with two parents who fight and squabble but who nevertheless dote on their daughter, the other girl enjoys or endures a different experience. In China a girl is found abandoned with a facial disfigurement. She is discovered by a worker and taken home to be brought up alongside his wife and son. They leave after seven years when the husband resists his wife's demands to send the girl away. He selflessly devotes himself to her upbringing despite the difficulties while she hides herself away lierally in the house and by a veil when outside.
The two come together through a community service project which takes Miss Malibu to China. Each learns a little about life on the other side of the tracks and good wins through until they all live happily ever after.
Partly a propaganda movie the film plays on the emotions and we can all share in the pain and joy. We wonder what the disfigurement is until it is finally revealed near to the end of the movie. Despite this aspect to the movie it certainly had an impact on my children at home generating many questions about a whole gamut of areas. The scenes are touching and both my fifteen year old and eleven year old certainly got the moral of the story.
Good wholesome fun for the family and although it is more than a little bit corny at times and also ham-fisted with obvious parallels it pays it's way.
I don't normally recommend movies like this but on this accasion I am happy to do so for children of all ages."
Look past the flaws ... (an apt metaphor)
J. Quigg | Joppa, Maryland United States | 09/25/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"So, I'm reading T. R. Holtzclaw "Travis H.'s bile-spewing review below and I'm thinking, "Kevin Dillon's character from 'Platoon' LIVED!!! ... and he just attacked 'Smile' with the butt of a shotgun!!"
While "Smile" is no one's idea of great cinema, it's hardly the utter waste Travis felt compelled to warn the planet about. On the negative side, the pacing of the story, due to some "Afternoon Special"-style editing, runs too long in many scenes. It's this T.V. style of movie making that nearly robs this project of the impact it plainly is striving for. A by-product of this is that the lead girl is a bit too successful in conveying teen self-centeredness at its most grating (a problem easily managed through some deft use of the remote), where a couple less scenes of this sort of exposition would've made the point while tightening up the movie nicely. At least one reviewer below thinks Cheri Oteri brings too much SNL - for me, she brought just enough, if only because it raises the tempo of the movie from its lethargic stroll. She tones down her wilder style, leaving the impression of some inspired improvising, and next to the other people on screen, her character is a splash of technicolor flitting around a field of sepia-tone. She's just too close to some real humans I rely on for comic relief to be seen as anything but a plus for this flick.
For those in the audience learning Chinese, this has more than a smattering of clear Mandarin used to propel certain parts of the story. That the Chinese father and daughter home-study their way to some fairly impressive english can be seen as either promoting the Asian stereotype of genetically pre-disposed brilliance ... or borderline laughably off the mark.
Where the movie succeeds, in particular the DVD rendering with its extras, is in the light it sheds on special projects that've been set up to provide kids around the globe with medical treatment for birth defects. The final 1/5th of the movie seems to get the pacing and acting right (just in time!) to convey the strong emotional impact this kind of work can have on the patients and caregivers, alike. As the story concludes and drifts into the final credits, the choice of music is also a particularly effective touch that continues to carry the tone of both melancholy and great relief that are at the heart of the real drama on which the movie is based.
Shelagh Macleod | Minneapolis, MN, USA | 05/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While this movie wasn't exactly a good movie, I think it is one of the best out there. It tells the story of a 17 year old spoilt or pampered girl from malibou(Katie), and a girl from rural chinese(Lindsey, or Lin), who shares Katie's birthday. Lin was abonded at birth,due to a severe facial deformity, & is adopted by a worker that finds her. Lin lives with her adoptive father, & his son & wife for seven years, until on Lin's 7th b'day, her dad loses his temper & throw's a cup at his son. The next day, The son & the wife leave. 10 years later, Katie is given an option to participate in a program called "Doctors Gift"(based on real life org. Operation Smile)to get the points she needs to graduate. She decides to go to China as a volunteer with this org. Whislt in China, she has a mental breakdown after she see's the deformities of some of the children. With some help from her room mate, a surgeon, she soons finds the courage to keep going. The next day, she goes off to find Lin. She manage's to convince Lin of what her father wants her to do; Get surgery on her face. This is a very moving, touching story. I cried, because it shows all the hardships people have to put up with and how people reach out to help those people."
A Worthy Little Message Story Stretched to the Limits
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 10/12/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"SMILE is one of those Op-Ed moments on CNN that can be told with poignant dignity in 10 - 15 minutes and make a significant impact. The trouble with SMILE, the motion picture, is that it stretches this idea into 107 padded minutes, incorporating far more sitcom TV dialog about wealthy families with strident children looking for ways to escape uninspiring parental role models with teenage sex life and outside causes. It takes so long for this movie to get going that it loses the viewer.
The strong elements lie in the concept of the parallel of two girls born on the same day, one to the wealthy Malibu family with everything but concord, an the other left as an unwanted deserted orphan because of a facial deformity, salvaged by a caring worker who raises her as his own. The stories run parallel through the teen years when the Western girl seeks meaning to life by joining a humanitarian medical group whose efforts are directed toward offering the Eastern girl a chance at a normal appearance. The comparison of the lives of the two girls and their disparate families is tender and meaningful and that alone is worth the effort to tell this tale.
The actors are very good for the most part - Sean Astin in his most mature role to date, Mika Boorem as the Western girl and Yi Ding as the Eastern girl, and Beau Bridges and Luoyong Wang as the apposing fathers, Linda Hamilton as a rather tiresome mother, and some good young actors in supporting parts. The cinematography in China is very lovely but there is little tie in with the California counterpart. Jeffrey Kramer directs with less hold on pacing than on commitment to a worthwhile tale begging for brevity. Grady Harp, October 05"