Landmark Asian American Film
onlineshopaholic | Los Angeles, CA | 02/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I first saw this in 1985, it was the first time I saw on the big screen a genuine portrayal of the Asian American experience. I fell in love with this film. At last! My experience and my culture in commercial media. It rang so true to me, and I was and am thankful that Wayne Wang created such a gem. There are many beautiful shots in this film, and detailed depictions of Chinese American life: ie, the shoes at the front door, which is typical of Chinese American households; the bird cage with the red paper character luck placed upside down, meaning luck will descend upon you (unfortunately such details went right over the head of the reviewer below). The Cantonese is a bonus, it's my native language, and there it is in film, and lots of it.
I saw Chan is Missing later, and that, of course, is another landmark film, portraying the diversity in the Chinese American and Asian American community."
Slow paced story about a 1980s Chinese-American family
Zack Davisson | Seattle, WA, USA | 02/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It is hard to decide if "Dim Sum:A Little Bit of Heart" is a good movie or not. It is a very low-budget, slice-of-life film that shows a Chinese-American family living in San Francisco during the 1980s. There is no false drama imposed on the family, and their life is no more exciting than mine. The dialog is realistic, with awkward pauses and such. The mother speaks mostly sub-titled Chinese, although the rest of the characters speak mostly English. There are some minor plot points. The mother, who thinks that she will die when she is 62 because of a fortune tellers prophecy, would like to see her daughter get married. Often, they just have dinner and chat. Sometimes they watch TV.
And that is the hard part. "Dim Sum:A Little Bit of Heart" can be down-right boring. Nothing really happens. It is just a few days in the life of a family, and not particularly eventful days at that. The characters all seem like nice people. Victor Wong, who I always like, is charming as ever. It is nice to see him in a lead role. The film is very dated. Each item of clothing screams 1980. It seems like a student film, and perhaps it was.
I think that if I had been a Chinese-American living in San Francisco in the 1980s, then there would be more in this film for me. All the cast is talented, and many appear in the most excellent "Joy Luck Club" by the same director. The ending is very heart warming, and worth sitting through the whole film for.
All in all, I recommend "Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart." with some reservations. Know what you are getting yourself in for."
An intriguing character study.....
D. Pawl | Seattle | 08/11/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"DIM SUM is one of those films that you really have to be in the right space to appreciate. Thankfully, I was in that space and I enjoyed it very much! Director Wayne Wang cast a real life mother and daughter (Kim Chew and Laureen Chew) as his two leads--62 year old Mrs. Tam and her daughter, Geraldine. Mrs. Tam has reached the point in her life where she wants to make a pilgrimage to China to pay her final respects to her ancestors, while her daughter remains unmarried and takes care of her, as they live together as a family unit. We get a sense of the cultural struggles of women in this country (particularly women of bicultural heritage, like Geraldine, who is American-born, with a mother who remains close to her Chinese values). It is also a quietly humorous and gentle journey through their relationship's ups and downs. Though, I noticed that some people criticized it for being "uneventful," I beg to differ. I think this film is charming in its direct and non-flamboyant style and subject matter and that was something I greatly enjoyed. Very well done."
A Gem for discerning viewers - 2 by 4s to the head not allow
J. Fong | 09/08/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie gives the viewer an intimate slice of the Chinese-American experience in the 80s. If you are looking for a chop-socky movie or a "beat you over the head with 2 by 4s to spell out what the images and meanings are" movie, this is simply not for you. Instead, go see a Beavis and Butthead episode.
Even in the fast past hustle of the western world, the movie shares how Asians are often able to maintain a serene life flow while facing important aspects regarding the end (mother) and continuation (daughter) of life issues. By dispensing with pre-conceived expectations and seeking the meanings behind what the director is conveying, the viewer can gain a entry into this quiet, quaint, and accurate world of this family.
Viewed from an undiscerning mind with old western prejudices, this movie has no value. If you want to gain entry into the world of these Chinese characters and gain invaluable understandings, see and question every cultural aspect that the director shares with his viewers. In the end, you'll learn and understand a little bit how the majority of the world's population deal with life's issues.