Chopstick Cinema

Celeste Heiter's Adventures in Asian Food & Film

All About Dad

Chopstick Cinema

Chopstick Cinema

It’s spring break, and four college-age children have converged on the Do family home for a week in the suburbs of Sacramento. Mr. Do, who was once a lieutenant in the Vietnamese army, has done his best to raise his children as ambitious scholars and devout Catholics. Mr. Do spends his free time tending his lawn and garden, where much to his frustration, a sapling tree doesn’t grow quite straight, and his next-door neighbor, a Vietnam vet suffering from post-traumatic stress, refuses to trim his hedges to Do’s satisfaction.

His frustrations are mirrored within the household, where his headstrong children are beginning to express dreams and desires that don’t meet with their father’s expectations. Eldest daughter Linh can’t quite work up the courage to break the news that her fiancé is Buddhist. Eldest son Dinh has a mystery girlfriend. Younger daughter Xuan has just taken her medical board exam, but has repressed creative desires. And younger son Ty wants to ditch his biology major for a career as a filmmaker. Awkward family debates take place around the dinner table, as Mr. Do makes a futile attempt to persuade his children to see things his way, until that crooked tree helps him arrive at an elegant solution to his complicated dilemma.

With its heartfelt performances and universally relevant theme, All About Dad is a small yet masterful family portrait that is sure to resonate with audiences from any family and any culture.

Join me this week on Chopstick Cinema for a closer look at the Asian entries in the 2009 Cinequest Film Festival, which opens on Wednesday, February 25 and runs through Sunday, March 8. For further information on the film and the festival, visit the Cinequest website.

For questions or comments send e-mail to cheiter at thingsasian dot com