(Please watch the trailer first before reading.)
I saw this trailer on channelAPA.com. Before I watched the clip, I read the description. My first thought was that the plot would be an interesting point of view because the plot was about a Vietnamese-Australian woman, a point of view that is hard to come by in the US. I was intrigued because the movie was about a story about the Vietnamese-Australian experience coupled with the experience of being a woman.
Turns out I was sort of right and sort of wrong. The parts I got right were the things the trailer showed. There is a point of view and a strong, clear voice of a Vietnamese-Australian woman (regardless of how her morals become gray during the process of the movie) - that’s something that goes against the grain of the stereotype of Asian women being weak and without a voice. The parts I got wrong (or just didn’t anticipate) were the things the movie doesn’t say about Asian women (or Vietnamese/Vietnamese-Australian) women. I read that Linh becomes a prostitute, and the trailer became another example of Asian women, especially SE Asian women, becoming a commodified object, not to mention purely an object of lust and desire and sex, instead of, oh, I don’t know, an actual person.
But the trailer (and probably the movie) doesn’t just show how Linh becomes the object of desire, it gives Linh time to narrate. It gives Linh her own voice, one with which to share her reasons for doing what she does and, potentially, how she deals with her inner conflicts. It makes Linh a human, and not an object, which pushes some boundaries of thought somewhere (I hope, anyway).
So I guess I’m sort of undecided about the movie. It has its good points, which are important, but it also has common stereotypes that some people might not be able to get past. Will they be able to move past Linh-the-prostitute and see that it’s important to recognize Linh, and by extension all Asian women (and men!), as a person?